Thursday, July 31, 2014

Role Models

Titus 2:3-5 Similarly, teach the older women to live in a way that honors God. They must not slander others or be heavy drinkers.[a] Instead, they should teach others what is good.These older women must train the younger women to love their husbands and their children, to live wisely and be pure, to work in their homes,[b] to do good, and to be submissive to their husbands. Then they will not bring shame on the word of God.

I know we are all sick to death of hearing about the Titus 2 women but that is exactly what I am not only going to write about but what I am going to do and act out.

We can teach and preach about Titus 2 but if we aren't living it out then where are we? We are part of a society that teaches sex education, focusing solely on the physical but not speaking into the emotional, relational and spiritual aspects of sex and marriage. 

Telling someone they aught to love their husband and their children, to work in their homes, be good and be submissive to their husbands is just not good enough. We end up heaping guilt on these young women and imposing a whole list of things they have to do and not do. When they behave in a way that we deem inappropriate we bring in judgement. Now I am all for judging sinful behaviour in a loving manner. Say if you can clearly see there is a recurring sinful pattern that needs addressing do so in a way that brings conviction not condemnation. But what often happens is a spiteful almost condemning judgement over young women who have never been taught these things.
It has become a very lazy way of instructing young women. Simply pointing out the obvious does not bring change. We need to live by example. What good is our life if people aren't learning from our mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes but what a joy it is when we can save someone the heartache of pre-marital sex, falling for the wrong type of guy or going down the path of least resistance.

A lot of the time we judge because we have not dealt with that very same issue we are pointing at the other person for having. You think how much better you feel about your messy house because you just went to your friend's house and it is way way messier. You break out in a sweat and fear for your kids because you had pre-marital sex and now they are of that age and hanging out with this guy you don't like the look of. 

It is good to be concerned for those around us but it isn't good when our judgements are just that, judgements and finger pointing instead of loving instruction. Bringing hope to the youth of our nation that they need not go down the road we have gone down, that there is a way to stay pure and honour God. There is a better way and it is never to late to change. 

So today who can you be a mother to? Who in your life could use some good advice and encouragement. Men who can you be a Dad to? Who is out there who has no father or mother who needs to be taught that there is a better life for them and that their circumstances that they were born into and that they live in do not define who they will be and become? God has a much better plan for each of us and it is time we share that news. Don't sit back and complain about what is wrong with the world. Be a role model because we all need more good role models in this world. The ones on TV are just not cutting it anymore.

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Friday, July 18, 2014

The Wages of Sin

Romans 6:23  For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.

Sin. It doesn't matter what it is. Whether it is lying, stealing, cheating, murder, shop lifting, armed robbery or selfishness it taints you.
It coats you in a dark sticky mess. The more you try and hide your sin the messier it gets. It stinks and spreads like an infection.
Not only do you become stained but it rubs off on those around you. You think that because it is your sin alone that it only affects you and no one else so you continue to cover it up but like a toddler with a smelly bottom the smell lingers and everyone around you smells the effects.
The more you try and cover it up the more it spreads, taints and smells and rubs off on others around you. Such is the wages of sin. You reap what you sow and what you reap you cook up and serve to those around you.

Don't be fooled into thinking you can deal with your sin on your own. That it is your sin and that it was only small and you won't repeat it. Yes we are all human and to err is human but do not be deceived into thinking that your sin is a small matter that only affects you and can be dealt with with a simple apology.
You can't deal with sin on your own. The more you try and wash it off the more it spreads. The only way you can become clean is through the blood of Jesus. Through repentance. Repentance means to turn away from and this is so much harder to do than an apology. It can take time and it involves confessing your sin and exposing it.

Exposing it is difficult especially when you have hidden it for quite awhile and it has spread quite far.
I have been going through some stuff lately that has made me see just how destructive sin is and how far reaching it is. Sin hurts and it brings division and it separates us from God. Now understand the Bible does say nothing can separate us from the love of God but sin works in a way that when you are in the thick of it and you try and cover it then you pull away from God. The closer you get to Jesus the more aware of your sin you are.
Be wary of stepping away from His presence for anyone or anything. If you have a new boyfriend or girlfriend and you spend more time with them than reading God's word and in prayer or you pull away from church and friends. Alarm bells should ring. Sin will blind you and it will start with a small lie like did God really say you shouldn't?
It is only through His forgiveness and the covering of His blood that can wash you clean. Only Jesus can do that. Only He washes you clean but only you can want to be made clean. No one else can make that decision for you.
Sin has consequences and you will still need to live through those consequences and make amends to those who were harmed by your sin. But when you repent and turn away from your sin, expose and confess it and stop running that is when true restoration starts. That is where you will find freedom from the taint of sin.

1 Peter 5:9 Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.

John 10:10 The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Forgiveness of Self

Luke 10:27  The man answered, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.’ And, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

I look in the mirror and think the worst things. Things I would not say to anyone, not even my worst enemy. I sit on my bed, tired and worn out and totally battered and bruised from words said to me and things I perceive and I berate myself. I drag myself over the coals for things I said or did. I pull myself down. I cover myself in mud and filth as I feel I deserve because I try and justify and work out things. I build my own Babylon. I try and build a tower with my own hands. I build it so high and so 'beautiful' that no one may penetrate it and hurt me again. That maybe next time I see someone I will not say or do something that I will regret.
It is all my fault I say. If only I hadn't said that. If only I wasn't such a loser. If only I had it all together like so and so over there. She never says anything wrong. Lord I don't think you can use me. I am just too messed up.
These are my thoughts sometimes and I am sure you can all relate to a few of theses things. We try and be perfect and not offend anyone and we do things on our own in our own strength. We try our utmost best to be someone. Do the right thing and not disappoint. We build and we build and we build but what we build is ugly. They are lies. We do not build the truth. We do not build things that God has told us to build. We waste all our energy on covering up. Just as make up will cover up our blemishes temporarily but it won't take them away.

What happens when we talk to ourselves like this is we end up calling God a liar. We don't believe the promises He has given us. The words He has spoken over us to build us up become this thing we despise. Be it an attack of the enemy or not it isn't right. When we don't love ourselves how can we love others well? How is it we treat others so much better than ourselves? Why are we so hard on ourselves?

When we pull ourselves down and we don't deal with issues and just patch them over it will affect our relationship with those around us. Not only that but we cannot fully love our enemies and we cannot live our lives loving as Christ does. We can become judgmental, critical and un-lovely.

When we love others we accept them. When we have problems in our relationships we try and mend them and forgive others. We need to love ourselves, accept ourselves and forgive ourselves.

Stop pulling yourself down. You are fearfully and wonderfully made Psalm 139:14. You are not ugly. When a person says something hurtful to you don't bring your weaknesses into the mix and blame yourself and pull yourself apart. Forgive them and yourself and whatever part you had in it and move on. Easier said than done I know but we need to at least try and make things right instead of covering things over with layers of dirt and grime and guilt.

When we focus on ourselves we take our focus off God. When things like this happen run, and I mean run, don't walk, right into the arms of God. He is the ultimate healer and protector. We cannot trust our emotions or our thoughts. They lie all the time or are so fleeting that there is no point in really entertaining them.

Forgive yourself or you will waste a lot of time an energy. Your cup can't run over if it is covered in holes with temporary fixes. We need the healing of forgiveness not the temporary patch of guilt and self loathing.

I have made an art of forgiving others. I forgive others so easily but whenever someone hurts me it bumps on the wounds that I inflicted on myself. No matter how hard I try and squash it down or patch it up it always hurts. It is up to me to forgive myself so that God can heal me.

So what is it going to be? Are you sick of hurting from the damage you heaped on yourself. Are you tired of the negative words the replay in your mind? Sick of the way you mercilessly torture yourself everyday because of something you said or didn't say? Well this life is not about you. It is about Jesus and we need to let go of our egos that tell us that someone else's actions are because of us. Your husband's anger problems are not your fault. Someone else's bad day that they took out on you is not your fault. You are only in control of what you do, say and think. You cannot make anyone act a certain way. It is not your fault. Be kind to yourself. Focus on what God says about you. Praise and worship Him because He has made you fearfully and wonderfully. Every inch of you is beautiful and a wonder. Honour the perfect creation God has made that is you.

Dear Jesus
You died on the cross for our sins and for this we are most grateful. We pray today for forgiveness of our own selfish and negative thoughts and the awful things we have said about ourselves regardless of the reason. Lord we pray you build us up in truth and freedom to be all that you say we are. May we come back to the heart of true worship of you Lord.
In your Holy Name we pray. Amen.

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