Please check out this recent TV interview concerning prophetic art and the shift God is making concerning art in ministry. I pray that it is a blessing to you.
Please check out this recent TV interview concerning prophetic art and the shift God is making concerning art in ministry. I pray that it is a blessing to you.
1 Peter 5:10 (NKJV): “But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.”
As God continues to expand my territory I invite you to come join me at www.rhemawordphotos.com/blog . This blog is directly connected to and inspired by the Spirit of God even as He relates to the marketplace. Also visit Rhema Word Photography, LLC for Christian prophetic art.
God has done a marvelous thing.
Praise the Lord with me saints!
Luke 4: 18-19 (KJV): “18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,19 To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.”
First, I want to say thank you to everyone who has reached out to me concerning my well-being since I haven’t posted anything on the blog recently. This summer has been an interesting one for me as I have been placed in situations that have allowed me to know God intimately, like never before. Knowing Him as a Provider and Healer (just to name a couple) has been one of the most amazing experiences of my life. During this season I have been working to be more obedient to the Lord and with that being said, I am now in the process of writing a book. The school year is also approaching so my schedule will become busier but even in the midst of that, I still have to remain focused and humble in what it is that God means for me to do. If anyone has any questions or concerns feel free to email at email@example.com. I am uncertain as to how long I will be away from writing here but still feel free to visit and read the articles already online. Please keep me in prayer as I continue on this journey with the Lord. The book will be available soon as the Lord leads. God Bless you all!
James 5:16 (NIV): “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”
For the past few weeks I have been thinking about the importance of sharing our testimonies with others. I mean I often think of sharing testimonies with others but I am currently referring to the sins we’ve committed that we think are the heaviest and most burdensome. This misconception is why an individual may find it easier to confess being a liar when compared to confessing being an adulterer. It is important to identify and discard the idea of thinking some sins are heavier than others because that isn’t supported by the Word. James 2:10 (NIV): “For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.” It is important to recognize that sin is sin and God doesn’t instruct us to hide any specific type of transgression. Place it all at His feet.
Many months ago I once said that there are some things I would NEVER share. I was making empty promises because let me tell you…It hasn’t even been 6 months since I first made that statement and yes, as you can guess, I shared some of my “deepest” and “darkest” secrets. It isn’t a bad thing to share and confess seeing that it is a miraculous experience to be set free by the Truth! The song posted above really engaged my thoughts about being specific in conversations with others. Philippians 2:4 (NIV): “Not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” The song is essentially asking God to take away one’s shame and in the same breath asking God to shine His light through them. There are no secrets in Christ Jesus (John 18:20, Matthew 10:26).
As I write this article I am writing it to whomever may be reading it but first I am writing about this concern to myself. Earlier this week I was speaking with a classmate. The conversation began with a simple, “Hey !” but ended with a feeling of accomplishment….well at least for me. At the time that I spoke with my classmate she mentioned the feeling of “backsliding” in her relationship with the Lord, a new battle with the vice of alcohol consumption, and rocky relationships with others. I am no specialist but I can personally attest to the experience of God delivering me from alcohol addiction. As far as rocky relationships? I am constantly asking God to restore His ordained relationships and to remove those that He forbids. I am only saying that I can relate. Consequently, we talked for so long that I was almost late for my next class. You never know how the Holy Spirit will move so I am no longer surprised when things don’t go as I had planned. In conclusion, I was able to share with her my past experience with alcohol addiction. She appeared to be surprised to know that I was once in bondage to a spirit of alcoholism that later presented opportunities for greater entanglement with a spirit of anger. Reflecting on the many weekends I spent hungover is not my favorite thing to do during my spare time but I am proud to proclaim that Christ is the reason why I am no longer. And to think, shame would have kept my mouth closed!
Lets examine a scenario. Imagine having been out of school for two weeks because of a reason beyond your control. When you arrive back to school you find out that everyone did horribly on the last test so the teacher decided to give everyone a second attempt on the most missed questions. After you get caught up on upcoming assignments, the teacher allows the class to partner up to discuss questions they may have regarding the material and to share the answers they had gotten correct. Notice that the teacher gave permission and even encouraged that the individuals help each other. You look around the room and you see everyone working diligently so you immediately become optimistic hoping that your partner will share what is necessary for you to do well on the next test. An hour passes and when you ask your partner for answers or inquire about what to expect on the next exam your partner constantly responds, “Oh, just some stuff.” You look at your partner and ask, “So do you understand how you got the answer? I am a bit confused. Would you mind giving me insight on how you learned how to solve the problem correctly? Then your partner answers, ” Well, I just looked some stuff up online, tried a few things, and then pieces began to fall into place.” —– You would be beyond frustrated right? Well imagine those who are dealing with more serious matters. Think of those who are more than frustrated and are burdened by tormenting, sorrow, and utter desolation. I am a firm believer in the fact that God sometimes kills two birds with one stone. Similar to the strategy used by the teacher in this scenario, our Teacher may be presenting opportunities to take another step closer to becoming free as we help free others. Our obedience or disobedience never stops His show but regardless, do what He tells you to do.
Confessing to God FIRST!! When things are first made right with Him, He may then give instructions regarding how and what to share with others.
Psalm 32:5 (NIV): “Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgression to the LORD.” And you forgave the guilt of my sin.”
Be specific! You never know who may be waiting and listening for you to share a part of your testimony that they can relate to. This of course should agree with the commands God has given you. There has been times when He has told me to be vague with someone because that person wasn’t in a place to receive what it was I could have shared or merely because at that moment I wasn’t strong enough to share it. Exodus 4:12 (NIV): ” Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.” The Holy Spirit is faithful in all things, including guiding conversations to set captives free. You never want to do more damage than help. If God has called you to plant a seed, don’t go around trying to water or nourish them.
Be mindful of the person who may feel the way you one day felt. The person who may be sitting in an audience waiting to know that they aren’t alone in a specific battle. While you may be speaking generally about lust there may be a person yearning to discuss their battle against fornication…or masturbation…or beastility. You may be mentioning past addictions ditching and dodging certain words or phrases while someone in the crowd may be anticipating conversation about alcoholism or specific drugs addictions. Would you want to leave someone in the dark because of the shame you associate with a specific sin you’ve committed in the past??? I mean seriously, envision if the extra help and comfort God has given you was hiding testimonies not because God told them to but because they were too ashamed? I know for myself I would be thinking, forget your shame and lets discuss the issue at hand.
Beat condemnation from Satan to the punch. Condemnation is not from God and thus will not have the ability to taunt you if you place your sins at the altar. I am speaking from experience. I was once the queen of beating around the bush when it came time to confessing sin. HONESTLY: Sometimes I still feel tempted to have “selective discussions.” But on the other end I LOVE when others are specific and completely honest while sharing testimonies with me. Talk about wanting to take it all but not wanting to give anything. Thankfully, God is changing that.
If you’re a murderer then don’t say you didn’t really kill someone when you did. If you have a history of stealing don’t go around stating that you were just borrowing merchandise. If you were once in bondage to alcoholism don’t try to use the infamous “Jesus drank wine” excuse. When confessing sins and sharing them with others, there isn’t any place for kind of(s) or sort of(s). State what it is for what it is. Remain focused on the proposal that you can be the vessel God is using to help bring comfort and support to someone else. Proverbs 28:13 (NIV): “Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.” Everything the enemy means for evil God will change for good so He may be edified. So be specific and kick shame to the curb.
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.
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.”
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.”
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).
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.
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
Luke 12:12 (NIV): “For the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say.”
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.”
Matthew 4:1 (NIV): “Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.”
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.”
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.
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 4:4, Philippians 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.
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.