Friday, January 11, 2013

Wednesday, January 2, 2013


"Forgiveness is giving up the possibility of a better past."

Forgiveness means different things to different people. For me I am always learning more and more about forgiveness and what it means to me and my growth.

We all need forgiveness. Whether it's to forgive others or to be forgiven. I have found when I think I have forgiven someone a situation arises to test me.

The Bible also talks about forgiveness.
"Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you." --Colossians 3:13

I think there are also great examples of forgiveness we can follow. Not only did Jesus forgive everyone that wronged him, he commanded us to forgive one another.

Forgiveness is needed on so many levels of our lives. Whether it's with your spouse, parents, siblings, children or even co-workers.

You can have so much more peace in your life when you learn how to forgive others. Afterall, what good does it do for you for holding onto all those feelings that are preventing you from forgiving that person?

Are you a stronger person??

Most of us, especially if we feel hurt, want to move on from those feelings. Forgiveness is the quickest, easiest and long lasting way to enjoy life again.

Another thing forgiveness does is it helps us grow. Sometimes we have to experience the same lesson more than once. No one is excused from experiencing hurt and in turn forgiveness.

For me, forgiveness has been both easy and hard. It's been very easy to forgive certain people yet so hard with a couple of people. I thought I had forgiven these difficult people yet I had this horrible pride preventing me from loving them. I felt they didn't deserve my forgiveness. I felt so hurt by their actions that I created a wall that prevented me from truly forgiving them and loving them for the way they are. I know God created each one of us and gave us beautiful talents. Yet the thought of one of these people made me so mad. I wanted these people to be something they were not.

At one point I even acknowledged my unrealistic expectations but was still expecting them to be someone different.

My pride kept me from forgiving them and embracing the gifts God has given them. When I heard of things they were doing my pride made me angry at people praising them. In my mind they needed to be punished.

I had been praying for a few months about my stubbornness and my pride. Hoping God would soften my heart so I could love them and love life. This one quote kept appearing. Thats when I knew God was up to something. He sometimes has to put things in front of my face a few times before I get it. This is what I read:

"When you refuse to love people because they're hard to love, you forget the fact that God always loves you, even though you're not always easy to love."

When I read that I really was so full of peace. It was like a burden had been lifted. I know I'm stubborn and not the easiest to love so this made perfect sense to me.

No one is the same you have to learn forgiveness in a way that brings you peace and fills you with love. Once you learn how to forgive one person it helps you with other challenges in life.

"Our only security is our ability to change."

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

2013: What Are You Waiting For?

So here we are the first day of 2013 and many people are thinking about new years resolutions.  As you think about your wishes for this year we also need to ask ourselves are we really being proactive in our actions.  If these actions are about change what are we doing to make these changes in our lives?  Are we just hoping to get a better job or lose more weight this year or are we making plans to see these changes take place in our lives?

We all have big dreams for our lives but if we do not make strides towards these dreams we will not see them come to pass.

If healing is your dream this year God can heal you but He also will ask you to be a doer.  We see an example of this in John 5 as Jesus heals a man at the pool.  Jesus gives the man instructions:
"Then Jesus said to him, "Get up!  Pick up your mat and walk.  At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked." (John 5:8-9)

How long are we waiting for our miracle or our dream to happen without remembering we must have faith that our gracious Heavenly Father will provide for us.  We must have blind faith as this man learned and sometimes God will call us to walk before we are able to.  God loves His children who attempt to walk even though they can only manage to stumble.

So it is now 2013 and maybe some things did not work out in 2012 but that is okay.  What are you going to do this year to get closer to your dreams?  I have a friend who is way beyond being over qualified for her current job.  Her dream is to have her own business using the degree she has and she is in agony because she is not there.  She cannot imagine doing anything else because she knows it is a job God designed her for.  It is her plan A so to speak.  If you are doing anything but plan A what is holding you back?

We know God is our intelligent creator so are you trusting Him with your life to fulfill your plan A?  Also, what are you doing to get closer to living out your plan A?  Some times we have to take baby steps before we are living out our dream but we must be willing to keep moving our feet if we are trusting God with our lives.

"By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed and went forth to a place which he was destined to receive as an inheritance.  And he went, although he did not know or trouble his mind about where he was to go." (Hebrews 11:8)

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Why Does God Allow Suffering?

Why does God allow suffering?  It is a question many people ask especially when they cannot explain why such sadness is allowed to happen.  If God loves us why does He allow especially His beloved to suffer such horrific things?

In virtually every book in the Bible there is suffering.  It is through this hardship that makes these biblical characters stand out.  One of the more classic examples of this is Job.  Job was a godly man who loved God with all of his heart.  He knew God was behind his successes and praised God for it all.  The worst thing imaginable was allowed to happen to Job.  He lost his children, his land, animals, and virtually every earthly success he had was gone.  As if that was not enough God allowed him to be so sick that even his body was attacked with painful sores.
"So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord and afflicted Job with painful sores from the soles of his feet to the top of his head.  Then Job took a piece of broken pottery and scraped himself with it as he sat among the ashes" (Job 2:7-8).

Everything Job had worked so hard to attain was gone in an instant.  With these painful sores that covered his body he was unable to get up and start rebuilding with what was left.  How often when we are going through suffering of our own that we too feel like this.  We may not have the physical sores but the grief we are experiencing makes it feels like we are too weak to do anything.

At this point Job had to continue to surrender to God's Will even when his closest friends and his own wife told him to "curse God and die".

The question we have to ask ourselves is what will have to happen before we are willing to surrender to God's Will?  What will it take for us to open our hearts to God?  God is just waiting for us to lay it all at his feet.  So when will you let the love He has for you penetrate your heart?

Through suffering God is telling us "open your heart and let me in".  
Matthew 11:30 says, "For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.

So why was Job allowed to suffer?  Well even Job who followed God's commands was allowed to face such extreme suffering--but why?  To allow God's authority--His love to take center stage.

Following God's commands does not prevent us from experiencing hardship.  In fact God's strongest soldiers are the ones who follow His commands--yet they experience the harshest suffering because He has made them for such a time as this.

God is in control even in the midst of the worst loss--the worst suffering imaginable.  Even though He has allowed this He has built up His sons and daughters to endure the hardship they face.  As children of our Heavenly Father we have taken on this pain to glorify our Father in Heaven.

Matthew 6:33 states, "But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well."

This is so because we know there will be a day when we will rejoice in Heaven knowing there will be no more pain.  God has a special plan for all of creation.  Many times our purpose does not make sense to us especially during these hard times.  There are also other times when during these hardships we find out not everyone is a believer.  God has a plan for them too!!

As humans we can't imagine how God could provide for us if He allowed such pain.  It is during this time His glory shines.  His beauty and authority become a reality and unbelievers can see what it looks like to surrender to God's holy Will.

By doing this we are allowing God to be the true Leader, Our Reedmer who is guiding us to where He needs us.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Earthly Tools

I've been noticing a pattern lately in my life.  I have a lot of tools to complete a task but of all the tools I possess none of them are a fit for what I need to get done.  To be honest it is frustrating to have so many tools at your disposal but they end up being worthless because they just aren't what you need right now.

Obviously, I am talking about a real issue of putting a newly purchased item together.  The item I needed was a plain phillips screwdriver.  However, after searching my toolbox and tearing my house apart I only could find 3 screwdrivers but they were all flat heads.  My only feeling tonight was failure.  How could I not of found the tool I so desperately needed.  I knew I had one but yet it was no where to be found.

In the midst of my frustration I sat down and realized the reflection this issue has on my own life.  I have so many tools to use for life yet when it comes down to it only one tool will do.  This one tool was made specifically for this task.  There is no substitute tool either.  Trust me I have tried.  This one tool is not only the only tool that was designed for this job but it's the ONLY one.

This made me think of the tools God has given me for my life.  What happens then when I discover I do not have a tool that I need in order to teach others how to be strong?

God has been breaking me in a severe way.  I grew up being able to fix a furnace by the time I was 6 years old.  I am no stranger to tools you would find in any garage and was always able to tackle any task that needed to get done.  That was until tonight.  You see tonight I bought a TV and I thought how hard could it be to put together.  When I opened the package and found the 8 screws packaged in a cute little bag I thought this is going to be too easy.

Then I went to get my phillips screwdriver out of my tool box and that is where my hope became foggy.  I know I have that particular tool but if I don't know where to find it, it will be of no use to me.

Needless to say I need to go buy the right tool so my TV doesn't end up falling apart.

Friday, October 26, 2012

The Road is Narrow

We don't go through pain for the sake of just being in pain.  We experience pain for God's glory.  Our pain has a purpose but during that gut wrenching redefining process we can't see far enough down the road to see the reason for that pain nor the beauty and comfort that awaits us.

I'd rather experience pain with a purpose and that is why I lay all my troubles---all of my hurts at His feet.  For when I do He takes my mess and restores me in such a way that my box-like thinking can't comprehend.

Jeremiah 30 says "Restoration is Promised".  No where does it say that restoration is possible---but that it's promised.  If God cared enough for the people of Israel how much more do you think He cares for you.

Further, we are under a covenant called prevenient grace which means that before a man could seek God, God must of first sought out man.  God knew this before drawing Himself to us with a specific purpose in mind.  Surely, if God cared enough to seek man, He cares enough to restore the man He has created.

This road is narrow which also means the pursuit of God is as intense as a narrow, steep path rounding the most challenging mountain.  It is dangerous with a lot of risks but once you reach the end of the road you will see why it had to be so.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Heartbroken: Jesus is the Cause and the Cure

I bet you all though I was done talking about LOVE!!!  Love is the most important thing to me!!  My prayer to God has always been "Lord, break my heart for what breaks yours".

Filling the Void

To be Loved
To be Accepted
To be Recognized

Why do we crave love so much???  Love is always the solution to the problem.
What is our motivation to seek things we think will make us happy?  Busy lives, pets, drugs, alcohol, pushing others away?  When we do these things how long does this satisfaction last?  What do we do next when that thing doesn't work?  When we seek to fill this huge void with temporary fixes it is like we are seeking a superficial high to feel like we matter.

When did we first notice this void in our life?  It can be like a trickling effect of unrealistic expectations on other humans.  Humans are not perfect yet we expect perfection especially from close people to us like our parents.  We are constantly expecting a certain perfection.  One of my most favorite quotes to prove this point is from C.S. Lewis:

“My argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I got this idea of just and unjust? A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line. What was I comparing this universe with when I called it unjust?”

We have this expectation of perfection and seek this perfection in our lives but there is only one man who can fill this and that is Jesus.

This void is also our greatest inherent desire which is to be LOVED.  When I say Love I mean it on much more than just a physical level.  This desire can only be remedied by Jesus!

We know we need love to survive like we know we need air to breathe and a lack of love results in feelings of rejection, depression, sickness, lack of motivation to do anything, suicidal-no reason to live, alone, and worthlessness.

We determine how loved we are by the physical evidence of the way others show that love to us.  It also determines if we love others and furthermore, it determines if we respect others.

As Christians we are loved!  We have been set apart because HE loves us.  He wants us to seek Him so that this life is nourished.  We will always be lost unless we depend on God to quench this thirst. We are seeking a big streak dinner--when it's only prepared by God.  He can satisfy this desire to be loved at such an extreme level it can only be felt by the heart.