Tag Archives: Lord

Denying Sin

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“The Bible’s not working for you.”

Her words stung like water crackling on a hot pan and my blood ran cold.  It was her way of saying God’s not working for me.  My heart sunk.

The hard truth was … she was right, in a way.

I had been denying my sin.

I hadn’t confessed it, hadn’t repented of it, hadn’t asked for forgiveness, hadn’t received God’s glorious grace.

I’d stuffed it down inside like no one could see it.

But everyone could see it … even God.

And while everyone looked the other way, God didn’t.  He had to call me up on my game of hide and seek.  I hid and He sought and found and used this woman to bring me back round to Him.

Thank you, Lord.

Even through the silent tears and the hurt and the embarrassment of my sin being found out … thank you.

Because now I can move forward.  Now I can confess it all to Him and receive His grace and mercy.  Now I can ask Him for the help I so desperately need and faithfully, He will provide.

He will strengthen me.  He will lead me away from sin.

What sin did I commit?  Does it matter?  God cannot look upon sin and I want Him watching me … always.  I wish for nothing other than His constant, unfiltered, undeniable love.

Will there be more sin?  Of course.  We are sinful beings.

But today, I’ve repented and have been forgiven. I’ve received His grace and mercy.  I stand in the light once again, free.

Be gracious to me, God, according to Your faithful love; according to Your abundant compassion, blot out my rebellion.  ~ Psalm 51:1

Glorious Father, why do I believe I can hide my sins from you and somehow You’ll overlook them?  Keep me forever in Your grace Lord, searching out my heart and finding the sin that creeps inside and tries to hide from the One who knows all.  Help me Lord to quickly remove myself from temptation when my flesh or the world or the devil hungers to sin against You.  Let me be a source of light to those around me and not an overturned basket hiding sin in the dark.  In Jesus’ magnificent name, Amen.

For more of one of the most beautiful prayers in the Bible, please read David’s Prayer for Restoration in Psalm 51.

 

 

 

Heightening Your Discernment ~ 1

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This is the first post of a three-part series to bring you ways you can increase your discernment.  I found this list as an appendix in the book Another Jesus Calling by Warren B. Smith and have supplemented it in some cases with my own opinion or advice which you’ll find in italics.

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I was rebuked in a comment last week for boasting about my gift of discernment.  I hope I truly didn’t come across as prideful.  I use this gift for the edification of the church – to warn you from what I see happening under our noses.  I am committed to lifting up the Church and certainly don’t want any of my brothers and sisters in Christ to be swayed in these last days.

That being said, here are some ways to be more discerning:

  1. Be sure you are in the true faith following the One True God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; and the One True Savior, Jesus Christ.
    • Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith. Examine yourselves. Or do you yourselves not recognize that Jesus Christ is in you? – unless you fail the test. ~ 2 Corinthians 13:5

We are to continually test ourselves.  The words ‘test’ and ‘examine’ in this Scripture are in present tense meaning it’s something we should do consistently.  Ask God to show you if you’ve strayed off the mark.

  1. Measure everything by God’s word.
    • … they [the Bereans] welcomed the message with eagerness and examined the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so. ~ Acts 17:11b
    • Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who doesn’t need to be ashamed, correctly teaching the word of truth. ~ 2 Timothy 2:15
    • All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. ~ 2 Timothy 3:16-17

This is the easiest way to see if you are within the adversary’s target.  So very often he comes at me with a saintly voice, even quoting scripture.  It may take a minute or two of me believing that the Holy Spirit is impressing something to me when suddenly he trips up and I find the crack in his message.  He deviates off of what God would NOT say.  Ooooo I get so mad!  I think I’ve even shaken my fist at the devil.  “Try and sway me, will you?  NO WAY!” 

BUT, in order to have this work for you, you have to get to know the Scriptures.  So open your Bible and start reading! It’s the only way you’ll be able to detect the devil’s lies.

  1. Don’t be ignorant of our adversary’s schemes and devices. Be sober. Be vigilant.  Be prayerful.  Be watchful.
    • I have done this so that we may not be taken advantage of by Satan. For we are not ignorant of his schemes. ~ 2 Corinthians 2:11

This is a most sobering call to arms.  How many people have I met who call themselves Christian and yet do not believe in the devil?  It boggles the mind.  Luckily, I think these people are safe.  Why should the devil bother with those who don’t believe in him?  He’s already got them.  (That’s not scriptural, that’s my opinion!)  The problem is, he will use those people, those seemingly Christian, to get to you.

Additionally, don’t give the devil more credit than he’s due – but neither should you limit him.   I met two Christian women once who told me that the devil can’t get inside our dreams.  Is it safe to be that ignorant?  The devil is the prince of this world, and while he is limited to what he can do to us by God, God has most assuredly allowed him into my dreams.

  1. Pray for discernment. Ask God, as did Solomon, for spiritual discernment to help you determine good from bad, right from wrong, truth from deception.
    • So give Your servant an obedient heart to judge Your people and to discern between good and evil. ~ 1 Kings 3:9a

In this post-modern world where the lines between good and evil are increasingly blurred, this is a prayer we should pray daily to help keep us on our toes.   

Stay with me this week for more ways to increase your discernment.

In His awesome name,

Felecia

ScripturePicture ~ Micah 7:7

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Do you wait well?

I do when I think about it.  When I remind myself that God’s timetable is not my timetable.  I want what I want when I want it.

God says, “Hold on child.  Don’t get in front of me.  Wait.”

Chagrinned, I drop my head.  “Yes, Lord,” I whisper.  But part of me still strains.

Until, like the Marlin sitting on my Dad’s boat and waiting for his dinner, I surrender my want to Christ.

And wait.  Expectant.

Where are You, God?

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There are times in everyone’s life when we may feel like we’re in a desert … all alone … thirsting for water … scorched from the sun … crying out to God and hearing nothing.

God!  I need you!

Silence.  Not even crickets break through the quiet.

And we feel even more alone.

Sometimes it’s our own sin that keeps us behind a barricade, hidden away in our iniquities from the Lord.

But sometimes I think we’re just too inside ourselves to hear God or feel Him beside us holding our hand.  The pain we’re feeling might seem unbearable and we need His comfort.

That’s when I remember that if I feel like God is not around, it isn’t Him who has moved.  It’s me.

I’m the one who has wandered away looking for release from the pain … from the hurt … from whatever it is that confuses me.

But God hasn’t moved away from me.  In fact He is following, waiting for me to turn around.

Turn around.

TURN AROUND!

God is right there waiting for you.

 

Three in One

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Some people regard The Trinity as a difficult concept and I can’t disagree, it’s true.  How can one of anything be three?

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Once, a few years ago, when I was counseling a very new Christian, she asked me to explain it to her. I gulped but somehow strode forward and gave her this explanation.

God, the Father, is God.  The whole spirit-being.  The great I AM.  The almighty Alpha and Omega.  Then He took a piece of Himself and sent Himself to earth in the form of Jesus who is also God because He is part of God.  When Jesus died, was resurrected, and returned to God, the Father took another piece of Himself and sent it to His believers in the form of the Holy Spirit who is also God because He is part of God and Jesus.  The Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are three distinct Persons but still all One.

Very simplistic, but it helped her to view our Triune God as One.  I was about to say it helped me too, but I think I’ve just always believed this doctrinal truth on faith … never really thinking about it.  Or have I?

In an article in John Piper’s Desiring God blog, Matt Perman stated it this way:

If there is one passage which most clearly brings all of this together, it is Matthew 28:19: “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.” First, notice that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are distinguished as distinct Persons. We baptize into the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Second, notice that each Person must be deity because they are all placed on the same level. In fact, would Jesus have us baptize in the name of a mere creature? Surely not. Therefore each of the Persons into whose name we are to be baptized must be deity. Third, notice that although the three divine Persons are distinct, we are baptized into their name (singular), not names (plural). The three Persons are distinct, yet only constitute one name. This can only be if they share one essence.

For some time now – maybe the last year and a half – God has been refocusing me on the Trinity by having verses that include mention of it like:

And after being baptized, Jesus went up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove, and coming upon Him, and behold, a voice out of the heavens, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.”  Matthew 3:16-17

Then as John seeks to establish the deity of Christ:

Jesus said: “I and the Father are one.”  John 10:30

Again in John, when Jesus was speaking to His disciples:

“And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not behold Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you, and will be in you.”  John 14:16-17

And again in John 14 speaking of the Holy Spirit:

“If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him, and make Our abode with him.”  John 14:23

These are just a mere few of the verses in the Bible that distinctly show that the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are all separate and yet one.

Could God be ensuring that I really comprehend that He is three in one?  I don’t know.  Have I had the tendency to think of Him as three of three?  I pray not.  That might just be blasphemous.  But I can’t think of any other reason He’d be emphasizing this point with me.

Perhaps God was just getting me ready to tackle questions from the friend I’ve mentioned before who doesn’t like when we sing about Jesus being God (or the Lord).  Because in his mind only the Father can be God (or the Lord), Jesus is the Son and hence, not Lord.

Maybe now I can say more than, “Whelp, He is and He isn’t.”

I can speak intelligently (and without fear) and point him to the truth of Bible.

How do you explain the Trinity?

Feeding 5,000 & Other Miracles

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Feeding 5,000 & Other Miracles

Recently we discussed the miracle of Jesus feeding the 5,000 in a Bible Bite of John 6:12, which if you missed, you can just click HERE and have a nosh.

But let’s not stop there.  I wanted to turn that Bible Bite into a full blown Scripture Snack and look at the next verse too!

So they collected them and filled 12 baskets with the pieces from the five barley loaves that were left over by those who had eaten. ~ John 6:13

What’s so interesting is that along with John, Matthew, Mark, and Luke all record this miracle and each mentions 12 baskets of scraps.  In the Bible, the number 12 usually signifies God’s power and authority.  There were 12 tribes of Israel, 12 disciples, 12,000 of 12 tribes (144,000) to witness in the end times. {Check out biblestudy.org which goes into great detail about the number 12 in the Bible.}

It’s certainly a marvelous display of His divine authority to multiply five barley cakes and two fish from a young boy’s sack lunch!

Loaves and FishesWe don’t know how large the baskets were.  Were they small handmaiden, Sunday-go-to-meetin’ baskets or were they large collecting hay and straw baskets?  Does it matter?  There were over 5,000 people that ate their supper on a mountainside that day provided by a blessed-by-God sack lunch.

Who is this then who can feed over 5,000 with a few choice items?

And does He continue to send us the miracle of multiplication today?  He sure does, and I’m a witness.

Dateline Chandler, Arizona and I was attending a small group going through the ALPHA program.  The hosts are a lovely couple and each Wednesday night as we gathered for group, they would feed us dinner prior to our worship and study.  Eventually the group began to divvy up the responsibility and soon we were each bringing a portion – making it a pot luck meal.  It’s also important to know that the hosts have two sons that were both steeped in ministry in different churches.  So we had a core group of 12 participants plus at any given time we might have up to 4 guests.

One week, close to the end of the program, we had planned a fried chicken dinner.  Two people would each bring a 20-piece bucket of chicken from KFC and the rest of us added the sides and desserts.  On that Wednesday night I arrived with my ‘famous’ potato salad in hand, and walked into the house where an issue was erupting – one of the group members’ car had broken down and two people had forgotten their food.  The main concern was that the person who had broken down was one of the ones that was supposed to bring chicken making our total 20 pieces chicken for 13 people.

We decided as a group that we’d start by everyone having one piece of chicken and load up on sides.  I took a thigh and passed the bucket to the man next to me who loaded his plate with three pieces!  I started to say something but then realized that (1) he hadn’t been in the room when we discussed the one-piece business and (2) the bucket was almost around the table so everyone would get chicken.

After we’d finished eating a couple of the participants had gotten up for seconds and the guy who had been next to me walked back to the table with another piece of chicken!  My mouth watered as I watched him tuck in so I got up hoping that there might be a wing left in the bucket.  I peered in and was surprised to see two pieces of chicken left – a wing and a thigh.  I scooped up the wing and made quick work of it.

We finished dinner and moved into the living room to begin the study.  While we were immersed in Pastor Gumbel’s video message and subsequent discussion, the host’s two sons arrived.  I overheard their Mom tell them that there probably wasn’t much left but they were welcome to whatever was there.  We continued to discuss our study and both sons filled their plates and came in to join us.  I was amazed to see that BOTH had TWO pieces of chicken on their plates!  Driving home that evening I contemplated chicken.

When I took the last wing out of the bucket there was one piece left – a thigh.  I quickly start to think about what everyone ate at dinner.  I know that 4 guys had (at least) 2 pieces each (8), I had 2 pieces (10), the guy next to me had 4 pieces (14), and everyone at the table ate chicken so I figured that the remaining 4 women and 3 children each had one piece (21) and then the boys came home and had 2 pieces each (25).  I was astounded!  I counted up the numbers over and over making sure my math was right.

Arriving at ALPHA the next week I was so enthusiastic to discuss my observations I didn’t even sit down before starting, “Before we get started I have to discuss something about last week’s dinner.”

The group looked expectantly at me and the host blurted out, “The miracle of multiplication!”  Apparently I wasn’t the only one who had caught what God had done.  I smiled and looked at him, his eyes were twinkling.

“We witnessed a miracle, didn’t we?” I asked.  He agreed and we filled the group in on what had happened.  As I laid out what I deduced I was interrupted as several of guys revealed they’d actually had three pieces and a couple of the ladies had two rather than the one I’d concluded.  If all that wasn’t amazing enough … remember the guy who sat next to me stuffing down all that chicken?  He pronounced that he couldn’t believe I’d left that thigh in the bucket and figuring that everyone was done eating, he ate the thigh!  That meant that by the time the host’s sons arrived, there actually was an empty bucket – should have been an empty bucket and yet they pulled out 4 pieces of chicken.  Isn’t God great?  We had such a glorious time of worship that night … pouring out our love to our Father … our amazing Provider.

In hind sight it was silly, really. God providing chicken to some of the best fed people in the world.  He didn’t have to do it, no one in that room was anywhere close to actual need, no one was going to go hungry, and no one was dying of starvation.  But He did it anyway ~ He broke chicken and fed us all until we were full with no scraps left over.

What a blessing!  How astounding that the Creator of the Universe provides for us!

Has He provided for you in some manner?  Let me know!

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*** One other juicy tidbit: this miracle (the feeding of the 5,000) is one of only two miracles that appear in all four Gospels.  The other being Jesus’ own resurrection.

 

Through Jesus’ Eyes

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Through Jesus’ Eyes

I was thinking the other day about how Jesus loved everyone while He walked on earth.  Of course He loves everyone even today, but think about it.  He loved every sinner … the lame, the diseased, the hungry, the poor, the disciples, Herod, the Pharisees, the Sadducees, and even us, before we were born.  Every. Single. One.

And we’re supposed to be like Him.

Huh?

I can’t do that.

I want to, but I always seem to fall short of the goal.  My selfish nature worms its way into the mix and trips me up.

Oh, I’ve gotten better at it the longer I’ve walked with God, but it’s still a struggle and I often wonder if I’ll ever be like Christ.

Some of my favorite scriptures about this can be found in 1 John 3: 16, 18, and 23:

16 This is how we have come to know love: He laid down His life for us.  We should also lay down our lives for our brothers.

18 Little children, we must not love in word or speech, but in deed and truth;

23 Now this is His command: that we believe in the name of His Son, Jesus Christ, and love one another as He commanded us.

Can I love others better?

Absolutely.  I’d hate to think that I couldn’t grow from where I sit today.  But how to do that?  Where to start?

I started by asking God to help me to see people through His eyes.  He didn’t waste any time answering me.

Within days I noticed a slightly perceptible change in the way I was viewing people.  I might be able to describe the change like this … people started looking softer to me.  Fuzzy around the edges.  More pliable, perhaps weaker … but not in a bad way.  Easily injured.  Almost as though everyone’s heart was very close to the surface, even if they thought that they had thick skin.

Lots of changes came quickly for me after that, but most importantly was the way I treated others.  I became outwardly kinder – more considerate.  I’m softer with others.  Not so quick to judge.  And if I do make that mistake, I apologize – quickly – to the person and to God.

I also started really listening to the way people spoke to each other.  Sometimes I overhear one person talking to another and I cringe.  I wonder … if we even had half a clue about the damage our speech does to others would we stop?  Would we zip our lips?  If we could see the internal destruction, would we place our heads in our hands and cry?

If we didn’t I don’t think we could call ourselves Christ’s followers.

Will you try this, this weekend, dear friend?  Will you ask God to show you how He sees people?  Be ready.  He will do it and you will be astounded.

Prayer:

Father, please be gentle with us.  We know you want us to grow into a mirror image of your Son, but we are mere humans, warriors for you and yet fragile beings in this sinful world we live in.  Help us to view others through your eyes and keep us strong through the reality we will begin to see.  Through this change in understanding we will become stronger and more able to bring your love to the world.  In the name above every other name, our Jesus, I pray.  Amen.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

ScripturePicture: Deuteronomy 32:2

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I’m thirsty.

Are there days when you get up and get moving and don’t stop to read His word?

Me too.

And on those days do you find yourself, perhaps mid-day, craving Him?  Oh you know immediately what the “problem” is … you know what’s wrong.

You didn’t allow Him to talk to you that morning and now you feel empty.

It’s not enough to pray – I pray all the time.  Devotionals are not enough – I read a few of those most mornings.  But I need HIM in my life – daily.  As surely as some people need their hit of caffeine in the morning – I need my full measure of God.

I’m writing this Tuesday (yesterday) afternoon after running around all day from about the moment I fell out of bed.  If I don’t go talk to Him right now and let His love and His teaching wash over me, I’m going to go cray cray … I think literally.

If you haven’t yet today, go pour yourself a tall cool glass of Him and quench your thirst.

I’ll see you by the water cooler,

Felecia