Monthly Archives: September 2011

Never Put Trust In Man

I was talking with a friend a week or two ago and they said, “I don’t trust people.” I thought for a moment and then I responded, “Good…and while you’re at it don’t trust yourself neither.”  I don’t think they quite understood what I was saying but the conversation sparked interest in my mind. People often talk about trust but rarely do we talk about seeking trust in the living God. I think at some point we all have thought or said, “I don’t trust them.” And I agree that we shouldn’t. I cannot think of any reason why we should put our trust in man. With our fallen nature, sometimes the things we do and say can be unpredictable. Only God is worthy to obtain and secure our trust.

Do not rely on man

Hosea 10:13-14 (NIV): 13 But you have planted wickedness, you have reaped evil, you have eaten the fruit of deception. 
Because you have depended on your own strength and on your many warriors, 14 the roar of battle will rise against your people, 
 so that all your fortresses will be devastated—as Shalman devastated Beth Arbel on the day of battle, when mothers were dashed to the ground with their children.”

Micah 7:5 (NIV): ” Do not trust in a neighbor; put no confidence in a friend. Even with her who lies in your embrace be careful of your words.”

Isaiah 30:1-3 (NIV): 1 “Woe to the obstinate children,” declares the LORD, “to those who carry out plans that are not mine, forming an alliance, but not by my Spirit, heaping sin upon sin; 2 who go down to Egypt without consulting me; who look for help to Pharaoh’s protection, to Egypt’s shade for refuge. 3 But Pharaoh’s protection will be to your shame, Egypt’s shade will bring you disgrace.”

Jeremiah 17:5-6 (NIV): ” 5 This is what the LORD says: “Cursed is the one who trusts in man,  who draws strength from mere flesh and whose heart turns away from the LORD. 6 That person will be like a bush in the wastelands;  they will not see prosperity when it comes. They will dwell in the parched places of the desert, in a salt land where no one lives.

Ezekiel 33:13 (NIV): “If I tell a righteous person that they will surely live, but then they trust in their righteousness and do evil, none of the righteous things that person has done will be remembered; they will die for the evil they have done.”

Or the world

 1 Timothy 6:17 (NIV): ” 17 Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. 18 Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. 19 In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.”

Isaiah 31:1 (NIV): ” Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help, who rely on horses, who trust in the multitude of their chariots and in the great strength of their horsemen, but do not look to the Holy One of Isreal, or seek help from the LORD.”

Jeremiah 48:7 (NIV): ” Since you trust in your deeds and riches, you too will be taken captive, and Chemosh will go into exile, together with his priests and officials.”

But instead rely on God

Psalm 18:30 (NIV): “As for God, His way is perfect, the Word of the LORD is flawless. He is a shield for all who take refuge in Him.”

Proverbs 3:5-7 (NIV): 5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;6 in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.7 Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil.”

Isaiah 2:22 (NIV): ” Stop trusting in man, who has but a breath in his nostrils. Of what account is he?”

Psalm 118:8 (NIV): ” It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in humans.”

Jeremiah 17:7 (NIV): ” 7 “But blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in Him. 8 They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green.It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”

Psalm 16:1 (KJV): “Preserve me, O God: for in thee do I put my trust.”

Psalm 33:20-21 (NIV): 20 We wait in hope for the LORD; He is our help and our shield. 21 In Him our hearts rejoice,  for we trust in His holy name.

Proverbs 28:26 (NIV): “He who trusts in himself is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom is kept safe.”

Psalm 25:20-21 (KJV): ” 20O keep my soul, and deliver me: let me not be ashamed; for I put my trust in thee.21 Let integrity and uprightness preserve me; for I wait on thee.”

Psalm 18:30 (KJV): “As for God, His way is perfect: the Word of the LORD is tried: He is a buckler to all those that trust in Him.”

I will share a personal story. Maybe about three years ago I was having a difficult time with something. I was indecisive about what my next move should be and I was unsure if I even HAD an answer. I decided to go to a friend that I had been close with since elementary school. Sounds like the perfect person right? …..Wrong. I talked with her about my dilemma, mostly because I was tired of keeping it a secret and I wanted to get it off of my chest and I was hoping to possibly receive a word of wisdom. I wasn’t saved at the time so talking to God about the situation was the last thing on my mind. This friend and I talked for hours on end about the issue. As the conversation was ending she reassured me that what we discussed would never be mentioned to anyone else. We all know that when a person says they won’t tell-they are already plotting to tell. I learned that the hard way. Initially when she made the statement about trusting her, I began to have thoughts about her broadcasting our conversation but then I thought,  “Why would she do that? After all of these years of us being friends she has to have some loyalty to me.” It is a blessing to no longer be as gullible and overtrustful as I was then. A couple of months later my closest friend from home called me informing me that she ran into a guy we all went to middle school with and that he drilled her with a bunch of questions regarding what was supposed to be my best kept secret. My heart sank. After I gathered myself I realized that a new can of worms was open because I didn’t tell my closest friend yet. If this random guy was asking my closest friend about me and I haven’t seen him since the 8th grade I can only imagine who else knew. I mean he didn’t have any loyalty to me (well apparently neither of them did) so it was almost expected for him to do his share of telling others. My next thought was that if she told this guy who was so distant from us (12 hours driving), it was also safe to assume that our old clique knew. I couldn’t even be upset her because I put my trust in her, my mistake. Should I have been surprised? NO! But was I? Sadly. Like I mentioned before, the actions of humans are unpredictable. Or maybe our actions are predictable–predictable in the sense that we can predict that nothing good naturally comes from us. It is in our natural nature. As mentioned in Psalm 58:3 (NIV): “Even from birth the wicked go astray; from the womb they are wayward, spreading lies.” 

We must keep in mind the individuals we are dealing with, including ourselves. I will make it very clear, I DO NOT TRUST MYSELF APART FROM THE HOLY SPIRIT. Without the Holy Spirit is it impossible for man to rise above what he is by nature. Romans 3:10-18 (NIV): 10 As it is written:“There is no one righteous, not even one; 11 there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God. 12 All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.” 13 “Their throats are open graves; their tongues practice deceit.” “The poison of vipers is on their lips.” 14 “Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.” 15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood; 16 ruin and misery mark their ways, 17 and the way of peace they do not know.” 18 “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”This is why each of us must remain fervent in prayer with hope that all we say and do is pleasing to God. As long as I seek advice from man, I will be in a troubled situation each and every time. Who should I have trusted? God. I know sometimes it seems easier to pick up the phone and call a friend but the next time you start to feel that way take time to gather yourself and examine whether or not you are going to the source of all supply, our Father. He is the only one who can give us accurate advice and answer the questions that seem too advanced for our own minds. The story I shared is probably similar to what a lot of us experience at some point or another as we grow and mature. It is situations like this which leaves us without help or hope of recovery. I surely thought there was nothing I could do to make things better. Instead of expecting my friend not to mention what I shared with her I should have expected that she would. What would have stopped her? If one is not saved they are not being led by the Holy Spirit and if one is not loyal to the Lord it is unthinkable for them to be loyal to others. I try to consult with the Lord about everything. I still catch myself wanting to call that one friend but in all actuality, if he/she hasn’t received a divine word from God, there isn’t anything they could tell me that I couldn’t figure out on my own. Check with God first. He may even lead you to talk with someone who He approves of. I sometimes whisper to Him about how I feel and almost instantly what was gray suddenly becomes as clear as identifying black and white. Yep, He’s my best friend.

I am sure we all can I think of numerous occasions when we have been disappointed and let down. It doesn’t matter the individual-mother, father, sister, brother, or even someone as distant as a stranger. It is unfortunate when we find ourselves in a position where we feel cheated or betrayed. However, I have found comfort in the fact that my disappoint was purely a result of my own doing. If only I had put my trust in the Lord. Even the things we ask help or favor for, we must trust God to get them done. Not that they will be done when, where, and how we expect them to be done but that they will be done nonetheless. A husband or wife shouldn’t rely on their spouse to maintain their financial stability and to make sure all of their bills are paid. God is the one who gives the gift of wealth. Why should we put all of our trust in the best physicians? Jesus is the one who heals all sicknesses and diseases (Psalm 103:2).  Why do we trust teachers to make sure children receive the best education when the Holy Spirit is our Teacher? I am not declaring that investing in good health care and education aren’t important but I am definitely announcing that we cannot stop there. We must recognize God as being supreme. Expectations concerning man is one of the most faulty forms of thinking that I have experienced thus far. Why are we usually disappointed and sad? Because we had expectations that we expected man to fulfill. The Lord will never let us down so the gap had to be on our part. We sometimes fail to realize that humans are all imperfect and thus cannot be held to a position only ordained by and for God. Who can fulfill all of our needs? Who can make a way out of no way? Who can we count on when our paths appear rugged and the situations we find ourselves in are even more strenuous? Who can we trust to share all of our private information with and rest assured that they won’t gossip behind our backs? Who can we trust to share love that surpasses all understanding? No one other than our Father who earnestly watches over His sheep (Psalm 23).

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Thanks For the Help God

Psalm 121:1-8 (NIV)

1 I lift up my eyes to the mountains— 
   where does my help come from? 
2 My help comes from the LORD, 
   the Maker of heaven and earth.

 3 He will not let your foot slip— 
   He who watches over you will not slumber; 
4 indeed, He who watches over Israel 
   will neither slumber nor sleep.

 5 The LORD watches over you— 
   the LORD is your shade at your right hand; 
6 the sun will not harm you by day, 
   nor the moon by night.

 7 The LORD will keep you from all harm— 
   He will watch over your life; 
8 the LORD will watch over your coming and going 
   both now and forevermore.


It is so amazing to know that God is constantly giving us help for our daily spiritual walk in Him. Throughout this article I will share verses that shine on the assistance God has given us through Christ, The Holy Spirit, and even through friends and family. Fortunately, God doesn’t throw us into a lion’s den without faithfully saving us. While pushing through trials and tribulations we sometimes wish we had help-from somebody-somewhere-something.We want someone to give us insight,someone to confide in, someone to bounce ideas off of,someone to help us understand. And sometimes we simply want someone to help us celebrate after our breakthroughs and accomplishments.  The Lord said that He would never leave nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5) implying that the Lord is always with us during our battles and He is always with us as we triumph and rejoice. However, God’s presence can manifest in different ways, some ways that we sometimes don’t even notice.

Jesus

One of Jesus’ roles is to be our Advocate. According to Webster’s dictionary an advocate is: One who pleads the cause of another. Specifically: One who pleads the cause of another before a tribunal or judicial court; a counselor. Jesus pleads for us before the Father. How awesome is that? Jesus is the best lawyer we could ever have or ask for and He is willing to work overtime without extra pay. While Satan,the accuser, (Revelation 12:10) does his job to go before God and accuse us of sin, Jesus is on our side pleading for our freedom. I ask Jesus to intercede and pray for me because I am confident that He is the best one for the job. God exercises His authority with His right hand and Jesus sits on the right hand side of our Father (Ephesians 1:20), signifying that if we wish to reach God and to ask for His favor we must go through the Son (John 14:6).

1 John 2:1-2 (NIV): 1 My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. 2 He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.”

1 Timothy 2:5 (NIV): “For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus.”

Hebrews 8:6;9:15;12:24 (NIV): 8:6 But in fact the ministry Jesus has received is as superior to theirs as the covenant of which He is mediator is superior to the old one, since the new covenant is established on better promises..”,”

9:15 “For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance—now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.”,

12:24 “to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.”

The Holy Spirit

  • Teaches

Luke 12:12 (NIV): “For the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say.”

  • Intercedes

Romans 8:26 (NIV): ” In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.”

John 14:16-17, 26 (NIV): 16 And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him. But you know Him, for He lives with you and will be in you.”

26 “But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.”

  • Leads

Matthew 4:1 (NIV): “Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.”

  • Gives Life
 Genesis 2:7 (NIV): ” The Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.
John 6:30-36 (NIV): 30 So they asked him, “What sign then will you give that we may see it and believe you? What will you do? 31 Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written: ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.” 32 Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”34 “Sir,” they said, “always give us this bread.”35 Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. 36 But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe.”
  • Fills Us

Acts 2:4 (NIV): “All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.”

Friends

Up to this date, God has placed two important friends in my life-two women who are eagerly seeking the Lord. I find myself able to confide in them regarding issues/concerns, questions, and to share Scripture with. One friend is most like a grandmother-in-Christ and the other is most like a mother-in-Christ. I have other friends of course but God is using these two women in a vital way for me during my current stage of spiritual growth. This may not make much sense to those who do not know me on a personal level. For those who don’t-my relationship with my father has always been better than my relationship with my mother. I say better not so that it may have a negative connotation but to indicate that the foundation of my father-daughter relationship was a better contribution to my personal growth and development. However, I pray that my relationship with my mother continues to grow. Parents just like the rest of the human population are imperfect. Romans 3:23 (NIV) ” For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” I write this to express that there isn’t one perfect relationship on this earth because there isn’t one perfect person in it either. Sometimes it appears as if things will never change and that the best of things are over BUT …I know that nothing is over until God says it is over. So for those who do not know me on a personal level, that is some background information necessary to understand some of the relationships God is building in my life. I have concluded that these essential friends are not as coincidental as I once thought.

My grandmother-in-Christ knew me for practically my whole life. This had its pros and cons.  I didn’t have to spend a bunch of time telling her about my life, family, and other general information because she already knew majority of it. But on the other side of things, I was nervous about sharing my testimony with her because I feared that she would look at me differently. I went to visit her once and she showed me pictures of when we (my biological grandmother, myself, my grandmother-in-Christ, and her two grand-daughters) went on vacation when I was about 6. How could I possibly tell her that the sweet and innocent child in those pictures wasn’t the person she was now talking with? I was sure that she would have been too disappointed for words. I was wrong, wrong once again. Once she started to share with me the life she used to live before she was saved-the thought of her being disappointed never crossed my mind again. Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future.

My mother-in-Christ also plays a significant role in my life. It is actually a family effort because her whole family is truly a blessing from God. Her husband is like a father and their children are like my siblings. But my closeness with her is unique in helping me grow from a bruised place I was once from my relationship with my own mother. The time we spend together truly means a lot to me because God is allowing things to move at a pace that He desires. We talk about everything-some things easier than others but I appreciate each and every conversation. A week or two ago I was having a really hard time and I drove to their house to talk with her for about an hour or two and left. I simply needed to be reminded of the help and blessings God has given me. 2 hours isn’t a long time but from the moment we began talking I began to feel God’s peace and reassurance that everything will be okay. Originally I wasn’t expecting a super close relationship with her, which is probably why I cherish the friendship so much more because it was God’s doing-it was nothing I could have ever pieced together. My goal is never to replace my mother because God chose how He wanted things to be before I was even in my mother’s womb. However, that does not mean that God doesn’t have plans to fill voids creating by man. In addition to her Christian walk, I truly admire her as a person-as a whole. She is one of the smartest people I have ever met and yet happens to be one of the most humble. I won’t even start with how courageous and optimistic she can be. When I find myself worrying or afraid of something, she is already finding ways to change things around causing the situation to be worried and afraid of the God we serve. When she breaks down Scripture or just life scenarios I think to myself: That is the type of wisdom I want. I know wisdom from God sometimes doesn’t come overnight but interacting with someone who God has already taken to that special place can definitely be inspirational to say the least. I don’t know if she knows it or not but I in some ways actually look up to her. Not to a point where it becomes idolatry but enough to keep my ambition alive and creative juices flowing. God is giving me help in a wide range of areas. During the beginning stages of sharing my testimony with her and her husband, I was devastated at just the thought of having to share with them the things of my past. Now, I think it is safe to say that we know so much about each other’s lives/past that we each can tell some stories as if we were there when they happened. 1 Corinthians 1:10 (NIV): “I appeal to you, brothers ,in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so there may be no division among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought.” Sharing our testimonies with each other wasn’t to bring division and judgment but to bring us closer together according to God’s divine plan. Only God can judge us anyhow.

Ecclesiastes 4:10 (NIV): “If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.”

Proverbs 17:17 (NIV): “A friend loves at all times,  and a brother is born for a time of adversity.”

Proverbs 27:17 (NIV): “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”

Some moments in my life I have felt just plain hopeless! I still have days where I find myself  in distress and weak, constantly having to remind myself of the help God has given me from the people He has placed in my life. Forget embarrassment from past sin, I want God’s vessels to pray for strongholds to be torn down and for chains of bondage to be broken (Psalm 89:40). I am a firm believer that the more you know, the better you can pray. God tells us to confess our sins to each other because the prayers of a righteous man is powerful and effective (James 5:16). God doesn’t have limitations and He does things according to how He knows they will work best. Some of God’s people experience help the same way I am and some a little differently but it is still operating by the same Spirit. We must have faith in the change that God has promised us. God promises us that the latter will be better than the past as long as we remain in Him (Haggai 2:9). Open your eyes to the help that God has given you-you wouldn’t want to seem ungrateful.


God Please Forgive Me

So I am currently going through a personal battle. I mean we always go through battles but there is one specific battle that the Lord is leading me to address. Some days are better than others but after experiencing firsthand that God forgives, I was inspired to write this article.

I mentioned before that some days are better than others– as I believe it is with all of us. On my not-so-good days I usually “mess up” or give into the specific sin that I am battling with. Sometimes my thoughts are being stirred by the enemy and sometimes my thoughts are simply my flesh leading me to transgress. The enemy has been watching us from the moment we were born and he knows our weaknesses. So it isn’t a surprise that immediately after I finish praying(or even during prayer)that my mind can sometimes become bombarded with fleshly desires. Memories of partying,drinking,and living life on the edge etc begin to be all I can think about. While on a fast my aunt once said to me, “Be prepared for the devil to come back with a vengeance,”  and I know exactly what she was referring to.

An escape? God always gives an escape. As stated in 1 Corinthians 10:13(NIV) : ” No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful;He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted,He will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.”  An escape can be anything from being presented with alternative plans to the Holy Spirit bringing Scripture back to remembrance.I look at it to be anything that can allow us to gather ourselves and really consider what it is that we are contemplating.At first I always wanted to point the finger-trying to find some reason to support why sinning was inevitable. Then I began to grow up. There was always an escape but I didn’t have any intentions to look for it.  I began to go in circles like the Israelites did in the wilderness for 40 years. It was time to start taking advantage of the escapes given to me.

Earlier this week I was battling some serious temptation so I decided to keep myself occupied by writing an article,watching tv,and keeping positive thoughts flowing. Sometimes these techniques work but sometimes they don’t and this specific time-they weren’t.It is always a good idea to speak the Word to bring peace (1 John 4:4Philippians 4:13). I got so close to giving into the temptation BUT gospel started playing on my computer. I must admit,the music startled me because iTunes wasn’t even open. So I shut iTunes down to help me focus..(or to help ease the conviction of my thoughts)…then 2 minutes later the music started playing again,but with a different song. At that moment I was speechless. I shut iTunes down again and about 7 minutes later,ANOTHER gospel song started playing. So I sat there and thought,how foolish can I be? God is obviously trying to give me a boost because He knew I was struggling. I can never say God doesn’t provide an escape.

Throughout my walk with Christ I have experienced some of the worst feelings of guilt. There is a big difference with holding on to guilt and feeling convicted. I have actually been convicted while thinking about committing a sin,during, and afterward. What I did not know was that once we ask for genuine forgiveness from God, He throws our sins into the sea of forgetfulness.Micah 7:19(ESV): “He will again have compassion on us;He will tread our iniquities underfoot. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea.” Condemnation does not come from God, conviction does. Romans 8:1(NIV): “Therefore, there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”  Guilt that followed me for hours and sometimes days made me feel horrible but it did not make me feel horrible enough to stop giving into the sin. It was ineffective and solely had intentions to make me feel miserable. I often feared that God would be so angry with me that He wouldn’t want anything else to do with me. Some nights I was so sure that God would strike me down and kill me because I had been so disobedient. My fear is usually followed by sadness because God is always so good to me time and time again and I somehow always find a way to disappoint Him.

The conviction that I feel after I “mess up” is more of a, “Yes, that was a mistake but get up and dust yourself off -no use in sulking in it.” Now that was effective. Of course God isn’t happy with sin and of course the fact that God is long-suffering shouldn’t give us an opportunity to try and take advantage of His patience….although it wouldn’t work anyway. But I believe God’s method was most effective (other than the fact that God is always correct and effective) because I was expecting a lash on the back and instead God showered me with love and compassion. God is understanding. He understands us more than anyone in our lives. This caught me so off guard that I didn’t know how to react-so I cried–joyful tears of course. I cried because the love of Christ overshadowed my soul’s love for sin. I learned early that our souls must be in subjection to the Holy Spirit because the flesh will get us sent directly to hell. The embracement of God encouraged me to really fight the good fight of faith. God knows how to deal with each of us according to our specific temperament and our different situations. There have been struggles that God had to deal with me in a very stern way while some circumstances required a little more patience.

Verses on forgiveness

  • 1 John 2:1 (NIV): “My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.”
  • 1 John 1:9 (NIV):“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
  • Acts 3:19 (NIV):“Repent,then,and turn to God,so that your sins may be wiped out,that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.”
  • Isaiah 43:25-26:(NIV):“I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more. 26 Review the past for me, let us argue the matter together; state the case for your innocence.”
  • Isaiah 1:18 (NIV):“Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson,  they shall be like wool.”
  • Ephesians 1:7 (NIV):“In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.”
  • Hebrews 10:17 (NIV): Then he adds: “Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more.”
  • Colossians 1:13-14 (NIV):13 For He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”

A personal favorite~Psalm 103:12 (NIV):“As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.”

Now that we have established that God forgives…..do we?

The Parable of the Unmerciful Servant Matthew(NIV): 18:21-22:

 21 Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”

22 Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy times seven times.

   23 “Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24 As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand bags of gold was brought to him. 25 Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.

   26 “At this the servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ 27 The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.

   28 “But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred silver coins.He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded.

   29 “His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it back.’

   30 “But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. 31 When the other servants saw what had happened, they were outraged and went and told their master everything that had happened.

   32 “Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. 33 Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ 34 In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.

   35 “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”

For us to be forgiven for our sins it is first important that we forgive others.I am sure we all have our share of bitterness and resentment in our hearts from one extent to another. Besides the obvious reasons to forgive others, it is logical to treat others the way we wish to be treated.

  • Ephesians 4:32 (NIV): “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
  • Mark 11:25(NIV): “And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone,forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.

There isn’t any way on earth that a person can expect God to forgive them while they consciously fail to forgive others. Yes, I do believe that we can hold on to feelings of resentment towards others and not even realize it. However, it is an active duty to ask God to reveal and then remove those feelings.  I am a witness that He’ll do it.


Where’s My Shell?

I once thought to myself: Where is my shell? I am beginning to feel naked without it.

I then responded to that same thought: Good, that’s the point.

Until recently, I have had an imaginary shell. It wasn’t a big shell and it wasn’t a small one but it had numerous layers. I thought this shell had many benefits but in all actuality it only kept myself and others from getting to know my true self. This might sound crazy but it is true. I never thought I would reach a point where I would honestly say that I do not know my true self, my true personality. Growing up I was very outgoing, talkative, and enthusiastic about EVERYTHING. I always hear stories from family and friends about how I would always take up for others and how I wanted to be involved in anything that allowed me to be on a stage.When I entered a room, everyone knew it but as I got older things began to gradually change.

To my surprise, just a couple of months ago things REALLY began to shift. The layers began to fall off. I don’t believe it is a coincidence that things began to change right around the time I began to truly offer my body to Christ as a living sacrifice. As I am being stripped down from my old nature I am also being built up as a spiritual temple for the Holy Spirit: 1 Peter 2:5I found myself being shy around new people, easily embarrassed, and passive aggressive. At first I didn’t know how to react in certain situations because I was exhibiting the characterises of people I once made fun of. I used to say that I never understood how people could be shy and that NOTHING could embarrass me. But let me tell you, my favorite places are somewhere that I can be with a small group of family and friends or on the floor where I can just sit and especially in the back of a classroom—basically out-of-the-way.I went from being flirtatious to stuttering when a guy asked me my name. The boldness I used to have was used to maintain a spirit of control when I should have really been asking for Holy Ghost boldness so that I could break ties with old “friends.” I went from being a night person to preferring to be up at 9 a.m. and sleep by 12 a.m. I don’t like being out at 3-5 in the morning anymore because those are what I call  “trouble hours.” I no longer like to be the center of attention and I am definitely a work in progress when it comes to addressing large crowds.  I began to panic because I saw myself becoming a new person and I didn’t sign up for that…or did I?

When I asked the Lord to enter my life and to mold me into the person He wanted me to be, I at that moment and time signed up to become a new person. This new person was going to be a new creature in Christ. The next time I read 2 Corinthains 5:17 (NIV) “Therefore,if anyone is in Christ,he is a new creation; the old has gone,the new has come!” the words came alive to me. The exact same change mentioned in this verse was happening to me before my very eyes. When I signed the papers and gave them to God, He began working on me before the ink had even dried. Christ said that His yoke is easy and light and I was entangled in the miry muck of the world: Matthew 11:30. I was helpless and the Lord came to my rescue to plant my feet on dry ground. People continuously ask me where has the person who entered a room and wanted everyone to know had gone? I can only respond that the person left before I had even noticed.

I found the following verses comforting during the beginning stages of my transformation.

Psalm 25:4-7 (NIV)

 4 Show me your ways, LORD, 

    teach me your paths. 

5 Guide me in your truth and teach me, 
   for you are God my Savior, 
   and my hope is in you all day long. 
6 Remember, LORD, your great mercy and love, 
   for they are from of old. 
7 Do not remember the sins of my youth 
   and my rebellious ways; 
according to your love remember me, 
   for you, LORD, are good.

As I become more sensitive to His Spirit I am also becoming more sensitive to the world around me. The people I once shook my head at in disappointment, I now have compassion for. The struggle of crucifying my flesh is teaching me that it truly is a fight. If Christ is compassionate then why aren’t we? If Christ is long-suffering and gracious then who are we to be stiff and inflexible? I also find myself concerned about the true well-being of others. The removal of my shell has allowed me to hear the Lord more clearly than ever before. It took many years for new layers to form around my imaginary shell but it took one Word from the Lord to demolish every single last one. I found that at the core there was an issue-an issue with love. I wasn’t sure what love was, how it felt, how to receive it and more importantly, how to give it. I often viewed love to be fuzzy with hugs and kisses intertwined with sweet words. Now this may be how one expresses love but the love the Lord has shared with me runs so much deeper. After years of physical and emotional abuse I began to even question if love was real. I often thought that if love was real then why am I the only person who has yet to identify it. My perception of love was all wrong. True love comes from God because God IS love and yes imaginary shells definitely create blockage when it comes to us being able to receive the love God has for us. I now realize that I have more love than I will ever be able to consume. For one, God continued to wake me up each morning when I was still His enemy.  James 4:4 and Romans 5:10 elaborate on this.I don’t take the phrase being His enemy lightly because it says a lot. While we are serving the devil we are certainly God’s enemy but He still sent His only begotten Son so that we may live through Him.-1 John 4:9 (NIV). How many of us would do that for our enemies?

  • James 4:4 (NIV) You adulterous people,don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.”
  • Romans 5:10 (NIV) “For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to Him through the death of His Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through His life!

Aside from personality and emotions, I imagined that this imaginary shell kept my sins hidden. So it wasn’t a surprise when this layer was the FIRST to go. God doesn’t try to embarrass us but He will bring exposure to “closet sins” so that we can come to Him and repent. The removal of this imaginary shell made me face my sins-for what they REALLY are, sins. There was no sugar-coating involved nor was there an imaginary shell to sweep them under. The truth had been exposed. The sins were so exposed that even with a carnal mind I knew creating an excuse wasn’t an option. It was now time to renew and cleanse my mind as stated in Romans 12:2 (NIV): “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world,but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–His good,pleasing and perfect will.

I thank God for His help because knowing our fallen nature I would have tried to hide under that shell forever.I would have had a more difficult time drawing nigh to God and finding out His will for my life. We must keep in mind that old baggage has to drop off as we travel from glory to glory in the Lord. Be encouraged. This process may not be exactly the same for each person but if Christ has truly entered your life-expect change.

  • James 4:8 (NIV): “Come near to God and He will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
We cannot serve two masters. Let go of your imaginary shell, the Lord wants to make you new-without spot or blemish.

Be Slow To Speak

I have several songs I sometimes listen to while meditating on the Lord. One specific song has caught my attention for the past month or so. The song is titled “Word of God Speak” by MercyMe. The youtube video posted below includes the song and the lyrics.The fact that I began listening to the song to start my mornings showed me that I was in agreement with the message of the song.I believe this song caught my attention for many reasons but I will discuss two of the main ones. The first verse begins with: I am finding myself at a loss for words and the funny thing is it’s okay. The last thing I need is to be heard. These are the words that remained in my head long after I listened to the song. I then realized God is in the process of humbling me. I wouldn’t say that in the past I wanted to outtalk everyone or that I always wanted to be right but I certainly was going to get my point across.I must admit, it was difficult for me to listen to someone talk(especially if the conversation wasn’t in my favor)and to not say anything in retaliation.  Not to be rude,not to be disrespectful, but simply because that put my pride in an uncomfortable position.I don’t believe it is unruly to share our opinions but an issue definitely arises when sharing our opinions becomes a matter of feeding our ego. Sometimes I couldn’t even recall what another person said because I was so fixated on what I had to say. This had to change. We all know pride comes before a fall.

Not only does the first verse say that I am at a loss for words BUT it also mentions being okay with it.  Months ago I wouldn’t have been able to see the connection between how I talked WITH God and how I talked TO man because I had the mentality that I could express myself anyway I wanted to with man but I would not even think to overtalk God.I put an emphasis on with and to because I had the idea of actually conversing with God. He talks,then I talk but with man-it was simply a lecture and I was the lecturer.I was lying to myself. 1 John 4:20 states: “If anyone says, ” I love God,” yet hates his brother,he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother,whom he has seen,cannot love God,whom he has not seen.” How could I possibly be quick to speak and slow to listen with man and not be the exact same way with God? I now know this is a false statement because our relationships with man essentially reflects our relationship with God. My old mentality of my commentary being the most important part of a conversation completely disregarded the beautiful and divine Word the Lord may have had for me.

Secondly, I am reaching a point where I am working on putting my trust in the Lord. I mean the type of trust we give to God without intentions of taking it back. Growing up I knew I had to look out for myself. My parents always made sure things were going well but I had to make sure things were going perfectly. Big misconception. The control I thought I had was just my imagination playing tricks on me.

The chorus of the song goes:

Word of God speak
Would You pour down like rain
Washing my eyes to see
Your majesty
To be still and know
That You’re in this place
Please let me stay and rest
In Your holiness 
Word of God speak.

When I first listened to the words in the chorus, I concluded that couldn’t have expressed what was on my heart any better. I was willing to give up the authority I thought I had into the hands of God. Again,humility but this time accompanied with trust. I was at the beginning of a path focused on trusting and relying on the Lord to have the best plan,the best advice, and the best constructive criticism. I was officially content with resting in the Lord’s holy place listening to what He had to say. Even still, I would need for Him to wash my eyes to allow me to truly grasp what it was He had for me to receive. This reminds me of a prayer I recite daily inspired by Deuteronomy 30:6 (NIV): “The LORD your God will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your descendants, so that you may love him with all your heart and with all your soul, and live.” I ask the Lord to circumcise my eyes,ears,and heart so that I may be able to see,hear,love,and feel according to His will.In essence, there isn’t anything we could say that could even compare to what God has to say. We have to be conscious of the fact that we should no longer be desiring to operate with a carnal mind. Everything from bills to relationships to what we should wear to an interview-EVERYTHING. Our desire should be to cast all cares,worries,and burdens upon the Lord because frankly who else can carry the weight of the world? I can only think of someone who has Heaven as His throne and earth as His footstool.


Claim Adoption Into the Royal Family

I am currently reading Secret Life of a Prayer Warrior by Derek Prince. I have read a couple of books written by Prince but I must say this is my favorite one thus far. One specific chapter pertains to the blood of Jesus and how we must use it for our testimony. God has been telling me time and time again to not identify with the person I used to be. As long as I continue to identify with my old struggles and habits, I will continue to be in bondage to them. Now, I am not dismissing the fact that I still have struggles and strongholds but I have to declare and decree that I have been justified through His blood. It is one thing to identify what we used to be and the things we used to do but it is something completely different to accept becoming a new creature in Christ and leaving unnecessary baggage behind us,where it belongs. There is beauty in God revealing to us the places He has brought us from. Galatians 5:24 states: “Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” From the time I first read this verse I have made it my mission to continuously ask God to help me crucify my flesh causing my carnal mind to completely die and be buried somewhere to never be found again. One of our goals should be to have our soul,body,and spirit into subjection to His Spirit. I am at a time in my spiritual growth where I have to distinguish thoughts inspired by the Lord and thoughts inspired by the enemy. As born again Christians, we have been redeemed and forgiven of our sins. If we continue to carry and dwell on past mistakes, we disregard God’s desire to make us righteous and just. We have to let go of the world and the things in it, conquering and crucifying our flesh. Keep in mind that there is power in the blood and God has given us the authority to use it. We have been bought with a price to be ambassadors for Christ. Below are some of the verses that were used in Prince’s book. I wanted to share these verses because I found them to be very helpful and even more comforting. Claim your adoption in the royal family in the name of Jesus Christ.

1.”In him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.” –Ephesians 1:7 (NIV)

2.”But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, His Son, purifies us from all sin.”-1 John 1:7 (NIV)

3.”Since we have now been justified by His blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him!”-Romans 5:9(NIV)

4.”And so Jesus also suffered outside the city gate to make the people Holy through his own blood.”-Hebrews 13:12 (NIV)

5.”Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;  you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.” –1 Corinthians 6:19-20(NIV)