Saturday, September 29, 2012

A Pawn in the Hand of a Cruel Master

It seems I always get my best inspirations when walking. I was praying along, not distracted today by any music on the MP3. It was just me and my thoughts, praying to God as I walked, and He was talking to me. He had something to say to me today and for once, I heard Him loud and clear.

Unforgiveness has held me back in my growth spiritually. I have been given so much. In fact, it says in Ephesians 1: 3 He has given us every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ. Well, if that’s true, why am I still struggling over hurts that happened years ago? Why isn’t my place in the family of God enough? Even if my place in my earthly family isn’t all I want it to be?

Jesus is enough! He knows every intimate detail of my thoughts. (Hebrews 4: 12) He knows what will happen in all of my life: every event, every tragedy, every sin, every happiness. (Psalm 139) With a Friend like that, why do I allow myself to get so entangled in what people say to me, especially the ones that are close to me? Why do I allow myself to react in anger and tears and hidden resentments that I bury inside, which only comes out in other ways?

OK, enough already. I have wasted at least half of my life on this foolishness. I believe the Lord showed me the key to overcoming it today. When our pure, kind, sinless Savior was upon the cross, about ready to endure the wrath of God for all of our vileness, He said the words that an arrogant Pharisee like me who holds grudges against people way too long should also be willing to say:

“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.”
(Luke 23:34)

I think of all the times I have been slighted, times I have been unfairly treated, my name has been slandered, I have been considered a wacko, etc. etc. I have cried bitterly over this. I have heard my husband say, “Poor Megan.”

But that didn’t solve the hurt, the anger, the bitterness inside my heart. In writing my memoir, things came up that were not fun to remember. I have had times of intense pain, times of failures and times when others let me down. But for me to hang onto them would make me a pawn, a pawn in the hand of a very cruel master. The wrong master, not the one I want to be serving.

You see, in hanging onto unforgiveness, I am signing up to be a slave. If Jesus has freely forgiven me all of my sins like He talked about in the parable of the unforgiving servant in Matthew 18: 21- 35, and then I go and not forgive my brother for his trespass against me, I am totally forgetting what Christ did for me in judging my sins. In other words, I am completely disoriented to the cross of Christ. I am not letting His love flow through me. I am out of fellowship with Him. I am actually working for His enemy. I am a pawn in the hand of a cruel master. The one who doesn’t like to let his captives go free.

It helps me, when I think of the wrong done to me, to say to myself, the same thing my Savior said in Luke before He went to the cross. For you see, none of us really realize the impact of our words, our actions have upon others. I know that I have wounded others terribly by the things I have said and done. Oh, if I could just take those words back! So, when I am tempted to muse upon the wrongs done to me, I want to cast it down right away, like we are commanded in II Corinthians 10: 5, not even dwell on it for a minute. I don’t want to be a pawn anymore….

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Focus on Eternal Things

As I look outside at the rainy fall days, I see the leaves ever so slowly beginning to change colors, and observe the days growing incredibly shorter,while at night I feel the chill as I pull the covers tight to keep warm. Change. You can't stop it.

My mother always used to remind me, "Everything comes to pass."

She told me that when she returned from my grandma's funeral a couple states away. I had begged to go, but it wasn't to be. Not that time. She reported that the minister presiding over the services comforted the mourners by saying, " Everything comes to pass."

But did he know how much more that would be true now? That was 1980 when Grandma died. Before the internet, texting, cell phones, tweeting and facebooking.

Something else has been lost as well. The human connectedness, I think. As we sit, transfixed before our computers, for our daily doses of information as internet junkies, don't we lose our human sensitivity to each other? What did we do before we had all these multiple sources of information bombarding us?

Solomon was the world's wisest man, and God gave him that because he asked for,because he chose that above riches or kingdoms. But he forfeited all that wisdom because of the lure of the beautiful foreign women he married. Yet in his youth, he learned one thing that he put down in his book, Proverbs:

"Wisdom is the principal thing;
Therefore get wisdom,
And in all your getting, get understanding"

Proverbs 4: 7

So there is one thing that does not change in this world that appears to be changing
faster than we can keep up with: The Word of God.

I don't know about you, but as I look at the news, I see distresses of all kinds: wars and rumors of wars, economic turmoil, pestilence, disasters of epic proportions, etc. It makes me wonder what is going to happen next. It doesn't give me much hope in man's solutions for the future, either.

But Jesus said one thing about His Word:
"Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away." (Matt. 24: 35)

and in Malachi 3: 6a God says: " For I am the Lord, I do not change..."

So if we invest our time in the one thing that is eternal, that will never pass, and get to know the Lord, who does not change, we will have a stability when everything else around us changes, even crumbles, overnight.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

In My Weakness He is Strong

This past week I have been doing "spring" cleaning, and yet it is fall. Go figure.

I have tried just about every organizational system there is, and have never been successful with one of them. I don't know why. Maybe I just can't follow the plans of men and succeed. Oh, I do gain little nuggets here and there, but the Lord says in Proverbs 3:5-6:

"Trust in THE LORD with all your heart,
And lean NOT on your own understanding;
In ALL your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct Your paths."

I have heard it said that you are either born with the organized gene or you are not.
In my case, it was quite obvious as a little girl I was not. When me and my sisters played Barbies, they would spend oodles of time putting their Barbies away neatly. I had no time for that! I would throw mine in my "Barbie box." (It consisted of a huge grocery box which we "wallpapered" with gift wrap for our Barbies to live in. Everything in my Barbie house was a huge jumbled mess.

My older sister joked that she was going to teach me organization lessons, striving every day to be her organized best for me! Nearly five decades later, I still joke and ask her when the classes are?

But, you see when God formed me in my mother's womb. (Psalm 139) He knew I would be a messie, who would struggle this "disability." Like Paul in II Corinthians 12: 7-10, I have pled with the Lord to make me something different than I am. But shall I, the mere clay, tell the Potter how to make me. Should I tell the Designer of all the galaxies, and the complexities of a "simple" cell, that He somehow made a mistake when He made me the way I am?

So, this past week, all of a sudden this organizing, cleaning bug "hit" me. I could see the "forest for the trees," so to speak. And God gave me energy to complete an overdue task each day. No, I didn't follow a "method." Just God's enabling dunamis power, that is all. And I made my husband happy. That spoke volumes to me.

For the verse from Proverbs 31:12 is in the backdrop of my mind, and I cannot dismiss it:

"She does him good and not evil, all the days of her life."

I have failed in the past, and maybe you have too, but TODAY is a brand new day!!

Friday, September 7, 2012

But Of Him You are in Christ Jesus. . .

What an inestimable privilege to think... because of Him, because of the Father's tender mercies and the wooing of the Holy Spirit today, this very moment, we are in Christ Jesus.

That is what I Corinthians 1:30-31 tells us:

"But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God-
and righteousness and sanctification and redemption-

that, as it is written, He who glories, let him glory in the Lord."

It tells us what Christ is for us:

1. wisdom: (sophia)n by definition: wisdom, broad and full of intelligence; used of the knowledge of very diverse matters

2. righteousness (dikaiosyne) in a broad sense: state of him who is as he ought to be, righteousness, the condition acceptable to God

3. sanctification (hagiasmos) consecration, purification

4. redemption (apolytrosis) a releasing effected by payment of ransom

(All Bible helps come from free online Bible resource: Blue Letter Bible)

Christ paved the way for all of us to have this standing before God. All a free gift!
But I love how the Apostle Paul ends the thought, if we are tempted to boast, the only thing we are allowed to boast in is the Lord.

We all have certain talents. Maybe yours is musical ability. Another might be a super brain and land an awesome job that pays an inordinate amount of money. Another might be a star athlete and end up playing professional football.

Let me ask you a question. Did any of these people give themselves the talents they have? Can they turn one hair black or white? If the answer is no, then it makes sense to answer like Paul did, "He who glories, let him glory in the Lord."

Whenever I take credit for something, I quickly get reminded quickly in some way of this Truth:God shares His glory with no one. So let us praise Him for His wisdom in this, even if some days it does seem hard to swallow.

When we reach the golden shore, it will all make perfect sense...

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

God has proven I am His...

Have you ever read the passage in Hebrews 12 where it talks about God's discipline?

"...My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, Nor be discouraged when you
are rebuked by Him; For whom the Lord loves He chastens, And chastens every son
He receives. If you endure chastening, God deals with you as sons; for what son is
there whom a father does not chasten?"

Hebrews 12: 5-6

I recently received some discipline from God's hand. I cried, it was painful. It hurt, it smarted; I felt awful. But quickly now, I thank Him for it. You see, I have known good teaching from the Word but I chose to ignore it and tried to go it on my own. God had His hand on me and had to use His shepherd's crook to get me back on His path again.

Now I can move on again. Not look back with regrets but move forward in His plan for my life. How about you? Have you made a mistake that you feel was disastrous to your spiritual life? There is always, always recovery, as long as you are breathing.

Look at what Paul says in Philippians. I love these verses!

"Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended, but ONE thing I do, FORGETTING
those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead,

I PRESS toward the goal for the prize of the UPWARD call of God in Christ Jesus."

Philippians 3: 13-14

I urge you today, move out from self-condemnation and loathing, enjoy God's forgiveness bought at great cost. If you are His, you are a brand new creature (II Corinthians 5: 17) and your past does NOT define you!