Monday, November 30, 2009
Paul was writing here of his prior righteousness under the laws of Judaism. In the previous verses he states his "qualifications" as as righteous man and pretty much dares anyone to say that those were not the actions of a person that should be looked upon with favor by God and man. He has listed all the things that a religious person would consider essential to be holy and righteous before God.
That is what makes verses 7-8 so amazing! In spite of what he was and all the religious holiness he had earned, he looked upon it as garbage in light of what Jesus Christ offered him. He saw his "righteousness" for what it really and truly was- garbage, sewage, excrement, foul and filthy, useless trash. Quite a statement from a "Hebrew of Hebrews!"
Once Paul encountered Jesus Christ all of his own holiness and righteousness fell away in light of what Jesus offered him. His deeds of the flesh for the glorification of the flesh became a stench to his own nostrils.
I think we need a little of that- I think we need to breath in a little of our own stink from time to time. It helps us keep a proper perspective on who and what we are. Do you find yourself getting a little religiously righteous from time to time? Do you find yourself congratulating yourself on handling a difficult situation in a way that you think looks good to God? Is your religious service for the eyes of men and women to appreciate? Oh it is easy to slip into that performance mode and make our service to the King a religious and moral obligation to maintain our own personal holiness, isn't it?
Eyes on the cross...eyes looking to Jesus ladies...When you find you are dissatisfied with life and becoming unhappy with your service and sacrifices it is time to do a heart check and examine what that is really all about. It is easy to become man-pleasers and think that our self-righteousness pleases God. It most certainly does not. Our righteousness is as filthy rags so says Isaiah, and we would do well to remember that.
God is pleased and glorified by His Son and our position in Him and nothing else. Christ IS our righteousness! (1 Corinthians 1:30-31)
Friday, November 27, 2009
Occasionally I receive things from people that are especially touching or touch my heart. I thought I would share with you one such thing I got this past week. This person (I assume a woman) is wrestling with some real life circumstances and she expresses her thoughts in a very real and transparent way. I have taken some of the more personal or identifying things out of her letter, but I think I have left its essence the same.
For background you should know that what she is doing is responding to something she found by one of my favorite authors, Oswald Chambers. I frequently suggest the reading of My Utmost for His Highest, and this woman took me up on it.
Here are her thoughts (in italics) that I share with you with her permission. If you are moved by what she writes, perhaps you would remember to pray for her.
Is my life exhibiting the essence of the sweetness of the Son of God, or just the basic irritation of “myself” that I would have apart from Him? The only thing that will enable me to enjoy adversity is the acute sense of eagerness of allowing the life of the Son of God to evidence itself in me. No matter how difficult something may be, I must say, “Lord, I am delighted to obey You in this.” Instantly, the Son of God will move to the forefront of my life, and will manifest in my body that which glorifies Him.
I don’t understand this. Is God evidencing Himself in me despite what I see? I see me as defeated and crumbling. I continue to go on, doing my best to honor and glorify Him each day but the weight of trial and adversity is heavy and discouraging to me.
When does the Son of God display Himself in me? How is He doing so? Is He somehow glorified by my troubles? Is He somehow glorified by our inability to take care of our families needs? If so, it is all backwards to my thinking!
You must not debate. The moment you obey the light of God, His Son shines through you in that very adversity; but if you debate with God, you grieve His Spirit (see Ephesians 4:30).
Is my talking to you about how I feel debating You? Again, how can you be glorified in such things? It is like explaining how You could be glorified in the Holocaust! I know that in some way, through the people you were, but it sure boggles the mind. My life looks like the opposite of everything I ever learned about what glorifies God. I have problems on my hands! I cannot provide for my family as I should be able to…If I stop and think about how wrong everything truly is in my life I would have quite a list and be very depressed over it.
It is one thing to choose adversity, and quite another to enter into adversity through the orchestrating of our circumstances by God’s sovereignty. And if God puts you into adversity, He is adequately sufficient to “supply all your need” (Philippians 4:19).
More interesting thoughts…pardon me God, I mean no disrespect, but how are you adequately supplying all my needs when I remain in this situation? This is what I do not understand. How You have put us in these circumstances, You ARE sovereign after all…again, I don’t mean to be disrespectful, but I don’t see the adequate provision here. I don’t see the money I need for (removed)! Are those things not important? Are they not needed or even needs? I think they are, all of them!! All these things prevent me from living to sacrifice for others as Julie tells us to do.
You must “work out your own salvation” which God has worked in you already (Philippians 2:12). Are your speech, your thinking, and your emotions evidence that you are working it “out”? If you are still the same miserable, grouchy person, set on having your own way, then it is a lie to say that God has saved and sanctified you.
Well, that is a nice kick in the head. I am not sure what to think about this. To some degree, I AM miserable! I have all this unfinished business hanging over my head. It prevents me from being free to serve and minister the way I want to and desire to with all my heart.
God will never shield you from the requirements of being His son or daughter. First Peter 4:12 says, “Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you … .” Rise to the occasion—do what the trial demands of you. It does not matter how much it hurts as long as it gives God the opportunity to manifest the life of Jesus in your body.
I don’t know if I can do this Lord…
May God not find complaints in us anymore, but spiritual vitality—a readiness to face anything He brings our way. The only proper goal of life is that we manifest the Son of God; and when this occurs, all of our dictating of our demands to God disappears. Our Lord never dictated demands to His Father, and neither are we to make demands on God. We are here to submit to His will so that He may work through us what He wants. Once we realize this, He will make us broken bread and poured-out wine with which to feed and nourish others.
Broken bread? Poured out wine? I dare not demand anything from God the Almighty. What is demanding? Is that different than asking? I think submitting to His will might kill me. But I think maybe that is the thing that is intended.
God does not keep His child immune from trouble; He promises, “I will be with him in trouble …” (Psalm 91:15). It doesn’t matter how real or intense the adversities may be; nothing can ever separate him from his relationship to God. “In all these things we are more than conquerors …” (Romans 8:37). Paul was not referring here to imaginary things, but to things that are dangerously real.
The things in my life are dangerously real…financial troubles, inability to properly care for my child, the constant threat of financial ruin hanging over my head…all these things are real dangers to me. Knowing (her husband) something bad could happen to him, another threat. I have troubles….I am discouraged.
How can I be a conqueror?
And he said we are “super-victors” in the midst of them, not because of our own ingenuity, nor because of our courage, but because none of them affects our essential relationship with God in Jesus Christ. I feel sorry for the Christian who doesn’t have something in the circumstances of his life that he wishes were not there.
I don’t feel like a conqueror, I feel like a failure. Like Julie and other bloggers I read daily, we have enough problems and I would never wish for more. I don’t know how to wish for anything different. To ask for more troubles is crazy. I am waiting for God to make something good out of these things.
Thursday, November 26, 2009
Tuesday my husband took his motorcycle to the car pool meeting place. It was warm enough and it had thundered overnight so the ground was wet. He was about 1 block from his destination and as he made a right turn going about 25mph, the back of the cycle went out from under him. Before he knew it he was on the ground and sliding across the pavement. He landed on his right side, on his ribs. His head hit second, and thankfully he always wears a helmet.
He lay there on the ground for a bit gasping for air and from what I understand moaning. A man, "Rick" pulled over and ran to help him asking if he broke his leg. "Rick" said it looked like his leg was broken and he helped Larry get the cycle upright. Thankfully, his leg was not broken.
"Rick" offered to do anything he could do to help, take him home, to the hospital, call the ambulance, anything! He watched over my dear husband like he was his best friend. In the end, he took him down the block to meet his carpool partner.
My husband is going to be alright, he has a few sore ribs but he is alive and able bodied. Our church and all our friends began praying for him as soon as they learned of the accident and it is nothing short of miraculous that he has little physical effects from this.
We have had such troubles! The heat has been turned up very high and many adversities have come our way this past month. Frankly, it has been difficult not to become very discouraged by all the things we are facing. Especially since most of them are not "our fault." But it is things like this that put all that stuff into perspective ladies.
I could have lost my husband. He could have been run over, or seriously injured and required surgery or hospitalization. God was exceptionally merciful to me in allowing us to remain together.
"Rick", whoever you are and where ever you are, God used you Tuesday. I am profoundly thankful that you took time out of your own life, maybe on your way to work, to stop and help a total stranger. Friends, those of you who prayed for him need to know that your prayers matter, and your prayers change things.
We believe that because you all prayed God revealed Himself in the relatively minor injury Larry received and his quick recovery. God is always good, He is always active in our lives.
Today, give thanks that you have a wonderful, loving God who cares for you more than you could ever, ever imagine. He watches over His own and glorifies Himself in our lives.
God's richest blessings on you today! Thank Him as we will, as we celebrate Thanksgiving around our tables, laden with food and shared with loved ones.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Being a leader is something that few men are trained for in our homes anymore. Many men have been raised by their mothers due to divorce or single parenthood for other reasons. They have not been brought up to be godly leaders or godly men.
When our men come to Christ they do battle with great and powerful forces in the world that are intended to seduce them into immorality, pornography, laziness, self-indulgence and other forms of idolatry. They are used to the women in their lives being overly strong and competent so they are content to let their wives take the place of leadership in the home.
When we marry, we tend to place expectations on our husbands that they are not equipped to deal with. We expect that they will be able to meet every emotional need or presumed need that we have. We also expect them to be able to read our minds, to know our hearts, to be strong yet tender, and able to leap tall buildings in a single bound. We build these houses on sinking sand.
We are quick to quote verses like Ephesians 5:22-24, Colossians 3:18, and 1 Corinthians 11:3, verses many women don't like very much because they speak of submission, and yet these are the ones that are clubbed over the head of men reminding them they must lead.
I have said this before and I say again, if you want your husband to be the leader in your home, then stop doing it yourself. Get out of the way and let him do it! He cannot lead if you are not following, and he cannot be constantly fighting you for that position in your home. Too many men are leading a parade of one in marriage because the wife won't place herself under his protection.
May I ask you, if you are unwilling to submit to your husbands leadership what makes you think you are submitting to Christ? Submission to his leadership is an act of obedience and regardless if he is a good or bad leader we are called to follow. If you are "submitting" and you hate it, and you are doing so with a grudging attitude, then who are you fooling?
The Lord never insists on having authority over us, He never says, "You will submit to me." But instead He leaves us free to choose if we will humble ourselves under His hand of leadership.
So again I say, if you are struggling with a husband who won't lead consider getting out of the way. Surrender your will and your fears to the Lord first and then place yourself under the leadership of your husband.
Monday, November 23, 2009
I know this is what is taught because these are the women who come to me for counseling for their unhappy marriages. They tell me their marriage "is not working" in some way or another.
When a marriage is "not working" there is a problem at the heart level. When a woman dislikes her God-given role as a wife, and rebels against this role there is a heart problem.
Often women look at their marriage and lives through the eye of disappointment and failure. Their husband who was Prince Charming at the altar has become Hagar the Horrible at home, and their darling children who were adorable babies have now become Hells Angels. They have a mistaken belief that are powerless to parent them, their homes are in disarray and chaos. Most days these women are thankful to flop into bed at the end of a long day only to see that certain glint in their husbands eye... This is not a welcome thought but they fear turning down his amorous advances once again.
Does this describe you? Do you think this is God's ideal for you as a Christian woman?
With this as daily life is it any wonder that divorces are so high? Doesn't surprise me one bit!
How can we take the list of things we must "do" and make these things a part of us, ingrain them in our hearts so they are not just a list of duties and obligations but instead offerings of love and service that are a joyful part of life?
Who can find a virtuous and capable wife? She is worth more than precious rubies. Her husband can trust her, and she will greatly enrich his life. She will not hinder him but help him all her life." Proverbs 31 10-12.
I can't think of a woman who who does not want to be known as virtuous and capable, whether she is single or married. We often do a grave disservice to our unmarried sisters in Christ by assigning godly qualities only to married women. They are frequently relegated to the back row of womanhood, which is a terrible shame.
Our unmarried sisters are not second class women or second class Christians to be somehow pitied. They, like us are to determine to glorify God by how they live their lives.
ALL women are to be righteous, honorable, virtuous, honest, caring and compassionate at the heart level because we know that is what honors God.
When our thoughts are focused on Him our thoughts are not on ourselves, they are "others" oriented. There is a great joy in seeing the benefits and blessings we bring to others by being selfless. True service does not have as its focus the people we serve and love, they are the beneficiaries of our loving service to Christ.
Yes, the qualities we find in Proverbs 31 are the actions of a virtuous woman who happens to be a wife. They are the outpouring of a heart that desires to glorify God- a true reflection of love.
Friday, November 20, 2009
It is easy in those times to want to ask God, "Don't you love me?" I confess I struggled not asking that today when I learned that despite a few hundred dollars car #2 is still not fixed. I know that temptation, and I further confess that I have failed at other times when presented with mounting obstacles.
It is in our human nature to wonder why our God so rich and powerful and all-knowing would allow junk to befall us the way He does. In times of hunger and financial ruin we ask ourselves and others how a loving God could let us suffer so...with all the resources at His disposal, things He knows we need...why is it that He does not pour His bounty on us like so many raindrops...
I have to conclude that is it because He knows better than we do what we need and He provides for us what we need- and sometimes, no more than that.
In those times where I want to accuse God of not loving me I have to remember the reality is that all of this is so very, very temporary. In eternity will the department store bill matter? In eternity will the car payment matter? In eternity will a new outfit of clothes or a new dishwasher matter? Will the name on my children's shoes matter or if I had a Coach handbag? Will it matter if I died debt free and with 2 working cars?
What will matter to me with respect to eternity is where I spend it. Heaven or Hell, smoking or non-smoking, eternally separated from God and Christ or with Him for ever.
God's love for you and me is spelled out this way: God demonstrates His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
How can I whine and complain with this as my present and future reality?? Christ died for us that we could spend eternity with Him. Do You love me God? Yes You most certainly do.
My circumstances have not changed one iota since I sat down to write this posting for the blog. I am still down to 1 car, all my problems remain. But I have had a chance to remind myself once again of some profound truths. Really; what can man do to me?
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Many of you who read faithfully remember the trials of the last year as I struggled with my Mom's illness and subsequent death, Larry moving to our new home State without us for 6 months, and all the trials and drama that went into the past year of my life.
It seems that my new life here does not afford me much time to really sit with my thoughts and think on them, something I really hope changes with the new year and the ministry plans we have on the drawing board.
I have an off-day today and I have been allowed to experience life today, beginning with my husband's flat tire in the driveway. He had to put a bald and frankly dangerous spare tire on to get to work, an hour away. By God's grace he got there. That slice of life was followed by issues with our still unsold house in Wisconsin, a little legal matter... all before 9:00 AM.
Life is such an adventure! Sometimes it is a sad one and a stressful one. The road of life is hard and full of distractions and deep pits to fall in. I find that sometimes the problems life brings me whisk me away to places of great distraction that take me away from the main thing.
I often wish for a life of ease- freedom from all these stupid issues that can successfully tear my focus away from Him. In those times I wish I could be more spiritual, more of the mind that is able to set all this junk aside and just not care. I think of the missionaries I know who are able to achieve this. They know they will have a hard life on the mission field and they don't care! They willingly walk forward knowing they won't have a life of ease and will in fact have a life of hardship, and they relish it! They are able to rise above the storminess and set all the distractions of the world aside to focus on Christ and serving Him.
I fail at this- routinely.
There are times I am able to just live in and experience the grace that is available in Christ and not care about worldly concerns. I want not to care, but most times I fail because I can't figure out how not to care! Call me ultra responsible but I do bear responsibility for things in life and I struggle with putting those things in the back seat. I know it can be done because I read about it having been done from great men like Oswald Chambers.
I want to know how it is done! I want to know what to think, believe, and desire in my heart that I don't already. How can I immerse myself totally in Christ and live beyond the daily grind that seeks to take me away? It goes beyond turning off the television and throwing away the newspaper...it is the dealing with things like flat tires, and houses that won't sell, and how to pay for college and how to get Jake a car.
Scripture tells me that God won't give me more than I can handle (1 Cor 10:13) and I believe that. There is a difference in handling it immersed in His grace and handling it otherwise. My heart cries out not to care about stuff, not to be swallowed up by distractions and by the things of the world, I just can't figure out how to make it real without being irresponsible.
I have no answers today...only more questions.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
I believe that it is vital that the woman confess her sin to her husband, even though it took place a few years ago. She broke the covenant she made to her husband before God. She has practiced deceit for a number of years in concealing the truth from her husband.
It is normal for her to desire to continue to hide her sin, because sin hates to be exposed! Our sinful and wicked hearts love to keep our sin under wraps because to have to admit or confess our wrongs is a huge blow to pride.
She is most likely going to be very afraid to tell him the truth. She must set her fear aside for the sake of righteousness. The one thing she does have going for her is her claim of faithfulness since then, but I would expect her husband to question everything she says for a while.
Sin always has a price, no one gets off scott-free with sin. Even though in Christ our sin has been paid and is not accounted to us any longer, we still have to deal with the consequences of our sins from the smallest "white lie" to the greatest abomination- it has ramifications.
Trust will be shattered for a while, maybe permanently! A husband who has been cheated on (especially more than once) and then lied to for a number of years would have little reason to trust his wife.
He may be very angry and not know where to go from here. I would hope and urge a husband in such a state to see his pastor immediately and get some objective counsel as to what to do. I would urge him to forgive and move forward.
Any time there is unfaithfulness, a wise counselor will realize that the act of adultery is the end of the line of sinful thoughts, beliefs, and desires. The adultery is a result, not a cause. When a man or woman commits adultery the sin trail began a ways back.
The heart of adultery is set on the worship of self. I think that this heart more than any other is supremely selfish because it does not consider the other person in the marriage. All that is thought of is how they can feel better, feel desired, feel wanted, feel good, feel sensual and so on. It is truly all about them.
A definite aspect of the counseling process would be to determine if the sin issues that led the wife to be unfaithful have been addressed biblically. All the heart issues must be dealt with in order to prevent any further infidelity and aid in reconciliation.
There will surely be a long road of counseling for a couple when one person has been unfaithful but it does not have to mean the end of the marriage, and it won't when both people are determined to glorify God.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
The question on the table was, "Should I or should I not divulge my past adultery to my husband?" This woman had multiple affairs over a period of time a few years ago. She has since repented and says she has put it all behind her and she and her husband are ready to go on in ministry.
What would you tell her?
The desire on her part is to keep this terrible secret concealed from him.
Her thoughts are stated as, "I don't want to hurt him."
She believes she has put it in the past because she has confessed her sin to God and asked for His forgiveness.
Is she right or self-deceived?
A case like this demands much wisdom from a counselor because there is a whole lot at stake for this couple. The wife's desire to continue her secret is understandable, but is it biblical? I am sure she does not want to hurt her husband and telling him the truth of her infidelity will certainly hurt him! It is also true that confession of sin and receiving His forgiveness is a "must" and God has thrown her sin as far as the east is from the west.
The issue at hand is one of great importance on a number of levels. 1) When she married, she made a covenant before God with her husband to be faithful to him for the rest of her life. She no longer belonged to herself, but she became one with her husband. Adultery broke that covenant. This is why the penalty for adultery is the permission to divorce the unfaithful spouse (Matt. 19:9)
I suspect this may be a great reason to want to keep it secret, yes? Things have improved in her marriage over the last few years and she does not want the troubles of her past infidelity to ruin her future. There is a certain risk her husband might be very angry at not only the adultery, but also at her ability to keep this a secret from him for several years! He will realize the trust he has placed in her has been violated, and years ago at that! He may wonder what else she has kept secret from him and this may cause a cascade of problems for the couple.
Once the question of trust comes into play, especially over a number of years, there is really no limit to what disastrous results could come from this confession. He may demand an accounting of numerous areas of her past life, question many things about her behavior and actions, and worst of all, he may be so wounded by this revelation that he will not move forward. He has no reason to believe her now, every word is going to be suspect! She became so accomplished at deception that she was able to commit adultery several times and live with the results within her heart and mind.
2) Sexual immorality does not only affect her, it affects him too. Sexual immorality is sinning against your own body, and that of your spouse because you are one flesh. Look at what Paul said regarding this:
Yet the body is not for immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord is for the body. Now God has not only raised the Lord, but will also raise us up through His power. Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take away the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? May it never be! Or do you not know that the one who joins himself to a prostitute is one body with her? For He says, “THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH.” But the one who joins himself to the Lord is one spirit with Him. Flee immorality. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body. 1 Corinthians 6:13-20 (NASB)
3) The idea of "going on in ministry" with this secret hanging over her head (their head actually) is a ticking time bomb. While it is true that her sin has been forgiven there is still consequence to be suffered for sin. In the world of "what if" suppose one of the men she was involved with comes forth with the information about her adultery when their ministry is underway? What shame would be brought upon the Gospel and their ministry! More than one ministry has been brought to its knees due to some past sexual indiscretion.
Dear Readers, I have given you some things to think about today with this little case study. I will give you my counsel on this tomorrow and you can compare what you would do with my thoughts.
Monday, November 16, 2009
It is always a joy to teach someone truth and to have the privilege of speaking into their lives on an ongoing basis. In this case, I have had the ability to teach God's truth to someone for a very long time, over 20 years in fact! I have walked with them through many heartaches and trials, joys and fun times and I truly love this person.
A profession of faith and a claim of salvation has been made and yet...there has always been doubt. Life's realities have not matched verbal professions very often. I have watched this person seesaw back and forth over the years closer to the Lord and then further away again without ever seeming to have gained any wisdom or any ground over the flesh. This has been difficult to observe.
I have gently (and sometimes not so gently) put my fingers in the pot to see if I could stir up some change, to see if the conversion was real, and if perhaps, the weight of sin was so great on their heart that they needed a hand up to the level ground at the foot of the cross. All for little reward.
I have watched the struggles with hope against hope that because a struggle even exists it must mean something! It must mean there is something within that causes the struggle (Gal. 5:17), right? Many conversations, emails, rebukes, corrections, and infinite hours of training in righteousness have come to this point: I have to let go.
Letting go is a devastating thing for me. It means the Prodigal is truly that- a Prodigal. It means that my hopes and dreams for them in Christ are temporarily and maybe permanently dashed against the rocks of death and separation from God. I can no longer conclude their profession is a real one, I cannot convict them of being a Christian.
Oh how this grieves my heart! In my humanity I desire their salvation more than they do, and to my great sorrow they believe that they possess a great salvation already! I am no judge of mens hearts or souls, yet I know what the Bible says to be true- “You will know them by their fruits" (Matthew 7:16)
The fruit of this life has little in common with the Lord or His ways. The roots of this tree are shallow and seeped in the foul ground of prideful self and idolatry so there can be no other result. I have taken that tree and shaken it many times and some of the rotten fruit fell off, but never far from the tree. Its decay only added to the foulness of the ground and low, before long new fruit of the same variety grew in its place.
It is time to let go. As the loving father did in the Parable of the Prodigal Son, I am letting go of this person, and turning them over to themselves. In truth, they left the safety of the homestead long ago but I tied a rope around their ankle so I would always be aware and able to help when needed. Now I have cut the rope and they are free to go their own way entirely. No more help, no more wise words, no more harbor of safety and comfort when needed.
It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God Hebrews 10:31.
Monday, November 9, 2009
Our primary guilty past has to do with the sin we are are born with.
When Adam sinned, sin entered the entire human race. Adam’s sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned. Romans 5:12 (NLT)
We are all guilty before God and that must be taken care of by entering into a salvific relationship with Jesus Christ. That is the greatest need you and I have in relationship to our past and that our imputed guilt has been handled. We must be sure that our sin has been washed away by the blood of our precious Lamb of God.
Once we are certain of our reconciliation to God, we must then seek the forgiveness of the person or persons we have sinned against. This can be difficult due to length of years that have past, sometimes the people we have sinned against are deceased and we have no opportunity to confess our guilt to them and ask their forgiveness. I would urge you to do the best you can with this and attempt to reconcile with them through repentance and confession.
The problem with discussions about the past is the person is always the “innocent party” therefore, the “victim”. The theory is that the reason the person is having trouble today is because all these people in the past were evil- therefore it is not her fault. But it is not that simple- there were of course situations where I was innocent- someone was evil to me- but my response was wicked- or the habits I developed after that event were wicked. Sometimes my behavior was wicked from the start.
What is the godly purpose in regularly going back and reminding yourself of sins you have committed in the past? You have confessed them- stop beating yourself over the head with them!
Do you see how moody you are? Do you realize that this makes you discouraged and depressed? Stop it!
Living this way is preventing you from reaching out to others, it is preventing you from reaching in and serving others. And, most importantly- it is stopping you from putting the proper amount of effort into growing in the present, because you are too consumed with the past.
Monday, November 2, 2009
He who covers his sins (in the past) will not prosper, (in the present or the future) Proverbs 28:13 (NKJV)
Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. Galatians 6:7 (NKJV)
If you take a trip through the book of Proverbs; it is full of warnings to us that are known as if/then statements. If you do this that will happen, if you don't do this that will happen.
Have you ever noticed how many stories there are in the Old Testament? There are so many life stories of those very normal human beings who went before us, and their triumphs and tragedies, family messes and battles are all chronicled for us to read thousands of years later. You have heard the saying about hind sight being 20/20; well these narratives are there for us to learn from so we can avoid making the same mistakes in our own lives. We have the benefit of seeing how decisions they made affected them years down the road! Sometimes we see devastating results (Abraham listening to Sarah regarding Hagar, Saul and Samuel, David and Bathsheba, King Solomon) and other times we see glorious results resulting from the past.
For example: because David was able to tell King Saul about the time he saved one of his sheep from a lion and a bear with his slingshot he was permitted to go out after Goliath (1 Sam 17:34-37). In this case, David's past was of great benefit to him and to Israel.
Remembering the past can help us in the present as we are faced with trials and troubles. One only has to look back at Job for this example! Job was able to bear up under the horrible pain and misery of his physical and emotional trial in life because he understood God's faithfulness and his goodness and kindness.
"Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?" (Job 2:10 NKJV)
Without the past to look back on, learn from, and gain wisdom and courage from we would flounder.
To be continued...