“Accept God’s Forgiveness!”

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Photo Credit: Wallpaper4god.com

“. . . Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more,” John 8:11

 

Guilty or not guilty, that is the question?  Early one morning Jesus was in the temple teaching His followers a lesson or two.  Suddenly, there arose a commotion in the crowds.  Religious leaders began to furiously push their way to the front of those assembled there that day.  As they broke through the crowd, they pushed in the midst of all a woman.

This woman was no ordinary woman.  She was not considered like everyone else.  She was a woman of ill-repute.  She was an adulterous woman.  And, there she stood, broken in spirit.  Her eyes were down knowing that if she looked up she would see her shame in the angry faces glaring back at her.  So, there she stands, in the midst of her mess, knowing this time she has gone too far.  This time there is no way out.  Nobody here would dare to give her second chance.  Why should they?  She is just an adulteress, not worthy of anything from anybody.  She was guilty.

As she continues to stand she can hear all the murmuring going on against her.  She can feel the heat of people staring at her as her shame is displayed before all that are present.  Her time has come to an close as she hears the gathering of stones that are sure to end her story today.  Silent tears begin to roll down her face as he remembers every mistake she has ever committed.  She begins to remember every failure, every time she didn’t measure up.  Those same silent tears begin to flow a little harder – the pang of guilt is too much to bear.

All the angry voices are yelling at her.  They are shouting all the reasons she should be convicted.  More people gather close carrying with them even more stones.  The noise is rising higher as everyone seems to be emotionally charged with great anger.  Feeling faint with her own emotions, barely holding on, she glances at the one writing on the ground.  Then, with her guilt pressing all the more on her she lowers her head again.  The shame is too much to bear.

A shuffling coming from where the Teacher was stooped.  Perhaps He will be the one to cast the first stone at her.  She’d heard others speak of this man.  Some called Him the Son of God.  Surely her demise is at hand for she will not find a pardon here.  But, as He stood, the unimaginable happened.  He spoke, but not to her.  He lectured those who had gathered against her, “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her,” (John 8:7).

In shock, she lifted her tear stained face to see eyes that could penetrate a marred soul.  But, those eyes, they were looking at the others.  Just as before, He stooped once again.  Behind her she heard not a murmur – not a mumbling word.  What she did hear amazed her.  Thumps!  Thump-thump; thump-thump.  The very stones that were ready to take her life lay motionless on the ground.  The crowd dispersed.

“When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said to her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?  She said, No man, Lord.  And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more,” (John 8:10-11).  She didn’t question Jesus but she accepted the forgiveness He offered, and went.  Jesus didn’t justify what she did but He forgave her.  Let me make this very clear, God will never, ever condone our sin or pat us on the back for it, but we can be free from them.  Like that woman, we could be standing in the midst of our mess but He is ready, holding the keys to your release.  “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness,” (1 John 1:9).   Turn to Him in all humility of heart, confess and accept it today!

Today, if you are not born again and you want to finally be free from all of those mistakes that you are standing in the midst of it, I urge you to take care of it immediately.  Above, I quoted 1 John 1:9 which was written to a church of believers who already knew Christ as their Savior.  If you want your confession to work you must be born again, then like the woman we too can find release and forgiveness.  “Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God,” (John 3:5, KJV).  “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost,” (Acts 2:38, KJV).  Be blessed, turn to Him and accept His forgiveness today!

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“Unload My Burdens on the Lord”

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Photo Credit: Gospelgifs.com

“This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles,” Psalm 34:6

“Cast all your care upon Him; for He careth for you,” 1 Peter 5:7

 

“Relax.  Relate.  Release.”  If you grew up during the time when the sitcom: A Different World  (IMBd) was running you will immediately recognize this phrase.  When the character Whitley, played by Jasmine Guy, was at a point of being super stressed out in life she went to see a therapist.  The therapist offered this three word phrase to her in order to help her speak calm into her own life.  Using funny hand and body movements, Whitley went through her hard times quoting, “Relax.  Relate.  Release,” over and over again to herself.  The funny thing is people who have seen that episode or catch it on reruns now, never seem to forget that one.  I often hear individuals jokingly say to one another, “Relax.  Relate.  Release.”

 You have to see the humor in it all.  As ironic as it all is, this is in fact what humanity tries to do.  Come up with some self-constructed solution on how to handle the troubles that we sometimes go through.  Libraries and bookstores, television infomercials, computer ads popping up – many are designed to help somebody deal with something.

I love God.  He not only sits on His throne as Sovereign of the universe but, He sits as, “Our Father.”  There is a unique love that fathers have for their children.  There is a protective instinct that these men have that causes them to be on guard for the care and welfare of their families.  To make sure all is well; to make haste to run to the aid of the little ones when they cry out.  Our heavenly Father is no different.  As a matter of fact, He set the course for all other fathers to follow.

“This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles.”  God does not turn away from the sincere heart that is seeking Him.  If you are His child and are crying out for His help, the Father hears.  Not only does He hear but He sees.  He sees the disappointment and the heartaches.  He sees the tears and the loneliness.  He sees!  But, it doesn’t stop there.  He did something about it.  He did something to proactively change the situation.  “He saved him out of all his trouble.”

A lot of people feel that unless it’s a big, major upset in life, they ought not to bother God about it.  Let me draw your attention to that three-lettered little world in this verse, “all.”  All means everything.  God is concerned with every aspect of your life, big or small.  If it bothers the child, it bothers the Father.  So, go ahead, cry out!  Let your heavenly Daddy know, “I’m hurting.  This is too much for me.  Please, help me!”  Cry out!   God’s got ears and He hears.  Cry out!

“Cast all your cares upon Him” because “He cares!”  I really don’t think people believe that enough.  He cares for you!  He cares for me.  He cares about this mess I’m in.  He cares!  Why do I feel the need to carry all this junk by myself?  To deal with all this mess myself when He cares?  He gave me permission to get rid of it.  To cast it all on Him and yet, we’re still holding onto it like we can handle it better than Him.  How’s that been working out for you so far?  If you keep doing the same thing you are going to keep getting the same results.

I think it’s time that we, as professed children of God, start taking our Daddy, our “Abba, Father,” (Gal. 4:6), at His Word.  It boggles the mind of one who will deny such an infallible re-source as our God.  Yet, people do it every day.  Today is different.  Today, I don’t want to carry this whole load myself any longer.  These burdens are too heavy for me – so, I cry out!

 What will you do today?

“Zoo Time!”

What Would It Have Been Like? – “To See Dead Bones Live!”

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“So I prophesied as He commanded me, and breath came into them, and they lived, and stood on their feet, an exceedingly great army,” Ezekiel 37:10, NKJV

If looking at a valley of dead bones isn’t enough to shake you, then what follows would have blown my mind!  God does some pretty amazing things in the Bible and this by far has to be one of my favorite stories that display His sovereignty.  It’s one thing to hear of people being brought back from the dead and it’s quite another to see the process with the naked eye.  Think about it, what would it have been like?

Can you imagine being there with God and Him turning to you to ask what is supposedly a simple but not so simple question?  “Son of man, can these bones live?” (Ez. 37:3, NKJV).  “What?  Did I hear Him right?” is what Ezekiel must have thought.  “Can these bones live?” the question just rolled through his mind dumbfounding him.  Awestruck, his response was as I believe mine would have been, “O Lord GOD, You know,” (Ez. 37:3, NKJV), while shrugging my shoulders all kinds of ways.  At that point I believe Ezekiel was starting to realize in a whole new way the magnitude of God.  Looking out over the valley and seeing the waste of what was once life and trying to imagine them alive, his response was to appeal to the sovereignty of God – “You know!”

God does know but he wants us to know that He knows.  Right?  It sounds like some teenage gibberish but God puts these questions out there to see where our belief lies.  To see if we really see Him as being in control of everything including those things that appear dead.

I don’t know personally how it must have looked but I can imagine the scene in my head.  Sitting on the edge of a cliff and looking down and then out to see nothing but human remains.  Sitting stock still in horror, I would have started pondering all the “what’s, who’s, why’s and how’s” this all came to pass.  What battle took place?  Who was involved?  Why did it have to come to this?  How is it that there were none left to bury the dead?  There, just a mass of unanswered questions covering a sea of death.

What would have been like?  The appearance of body upon body stacked and scattered throughout would have been too much for me.  It reminds me of the scene in The Lion King where a young Simba goes to the Elephant Graveyard.  Nothing existed there.  Just death and shadows; coldness and loneliness.  Nothing to cheer about, nothing to hope for if it were not for that question that came from the Lord.  “Can these bones live?”

Death in reverse is what God was stating.  Taking an impossible act of nature and reenacting the process on rewind.  If the question wasn’t enough, how about the command.  “Prophesy to these bones, and say to them, ‘O dry bones, hear the word of the LORD!'”(Ez. 37:5, NKJV).  Standing reverently but in utter stupefaction, Ezekiel knew that he was at a point of no return in his ministry.  God was drawing him into the process.  “I don’t know about this,” would have been what most were thinking as they did as He commanded.    “I’m still reeling from the sight and I am not sure I am quite ready for the process. “

But that’s the real question God was asking him.  Not if they can live but is he ready to be a part of the process.  Surely, by now Ezekiel had known the answer of what God can do, but was he sure of what God can do through him?  Are you sure of what God can do through you?

What would it have been like?  At the spoken command to hear before you see an unsettling sound.  A noise permeated the air.  Rattling overshadowed the quiet of the valley.  In a place that knew only demise and decay was now going to be re-identified as something miraculous.  The rattle was with purpose.  It meant things were moving into their proper place.  It meant brokenness was being made whole.  It was the start of a brand new life where there was none before.  This was incredible to not only witness but to be a part of!

After the re-attachment of limbs and other skeletal remains.  After heads rolled back to the top of their owners then the real stuff transpired.  It’s one thing for bones to find their host bodies and reattached themselves.  It’s quite another to witness those very bones, the nothingness that was left, begin to take on a new life.  Sinews and flesh began recover the bleached parched surfaces (Eww!).  All the while, Ezekiel just watches.  What would you do?  Like a train wreck, as horrible as it may seem you can’t tear your eyes away from it.  Under the ribs organs began to reform and the life supply of veins maneuvered their way throughout, spreading the possibility for more.  My personal opinion is that the flesh and sinews had to cover them first because all that underneath stuff was just too vomitrocious to witness – I’m just saying!

Did I say stupefaction?  Yes, I did because at this point my mind would have been utterly blown away by all that transpired thus far.  But God was not done.  He was truly reversing the life process.  The bodies were now formed and covered “but there was no breath in them,” (Ez. 37:8, NKJV).  God gave him a new command, ‘Prophesy to the breath . . . Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain that they may live,” (Ez. 37:9, NKJV).  Ezekiel had no problem doing as was commanded of him, “So I prophesied as He commanded me, and breath came into them, and they lived, and stood upon their feet, an exceedingly great army,” (Ez. 37:10, NKJV).  Before they stood did they gasp at the feel of air entering their lungs once again?  When they stood, did they turn to each other recognizing the “what was” and processing the “what is now?”

What would their future look like now?  Or, is this just all a vision?

To see dead bones live in this fashion would have been an awesome and beautiful thing to see.  Think about it.  God took an impossible situation and did a complete 360.  It’s as if He had His finger on the hands of some big cosmic spiritual clock and purposefully began to rotate it backwards.  Spinning it and spinning it until all of death had to let go and life came to the forefront once again.  What would it have been like to witness this?

Don’t you know?  We may have not been bones but what remained of us of what the world stripped away was given a new command in the valley.  The valley, our lowest point of life, was shaken and rattled until it stood at the command of God.  Our lifelessness was renewed when His spirit breathed in us freshness untold.  Before He had a vision of us we were surrounded by spiritual death but then there arose potential out of nothingness.  Captured by grace and loved on by His mercy we received in us His gift of a second chance.

There’s a lot of things in that particular valley that would have left me unsettled but I only had to turn to the One who was commanding the change in me and see the love in His eyes for me.  I only had to look and believe as He did that there is something alive here, there is something that can be raised up for me.  We have been in that valley.  Vision or no, we have been to the place of impossibility just to see Him make it possible.

To see those bones rise to new life and live would have been amazingly awesome but to see what He has done in me is far better.  I don’t know what it would have been like there but I know what it is like here.  “Therefore we were buried with Him through  baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in the newness if life.  For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection,” (Romans 6:5-6, NKJV).  Because of Christ I got a chance to experience life outside of the valley.  What about you?  God can do amazing things through you, too.  Get ready for the process to see dead bones live!

Dirty Undies

Did you put on the right garments today? Read this and see if you are wearing “Dirty Undies!”

Lessons by Heart

Mama said, “Put on clean underwear. You wouldn’t want to be in an accident and have dirty ones on, would you?” Sorry, Mom, but I’m old enough to know that in an accident, the undies are the first things to go!

But I don’t want to talk about boxers, briefs, panties or thongs today, but rather to discuss mental “undies.”

Some mornings I get up feeling like 150 pounds of sin on a Popsicle stick. My mind is filled with the things I’ve done to hurt others and myself. Scenes of my yesterdays stream across the screen of my mind.

I was so foolish. What was I thinking? How could I have done such horrible things?

Days like this, I don’t bother to put on any other “clothes,” but run around with my “dirty undies” hanging out for all to see, and stinking to high heaven. If those I encounter don’t notice…

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What Would It Have Been Like? – “In the Garden with God”

One of my favorite times of the day is waking up.  Not the actual waking up part (sometimes that’s a little hard J), but when I finally get up, I get to draw back the curtains and see the new day.  It’s untouched.  It’s filled with hope and promise.  Whatever happened yesterday is not here for this is today.  It’s that freshness that draws me in and gets my soul stirred for the possibilities ahead.

021When we go on vacation one of the places we stay at is a condo in the mountains.  It’s so peaceful.  With coffee in hand in the morning, I head out onto the balcony and sit to admire the new day.  The only thing I hear is the birds singing their song.  The deer as they break twigs and rustle leaves when they walk.  Sometimes you see the groundhogs and other animals eating.  You get this sense about you that this is the way it was meant to be.  022

And it makes me wonder about a time when all days were meant to be like this.  When there was a time when all days started in innocence and nothing was yet corrupted.  When there was a time that man walked freely in the Garden with God.

I love gardens and I declare one day I will have a nice one.  We were meant to live the garden lifestyle (see Made For Green).  We were designed to reign in innocence and peace.  The world we live in today contradicts the fellowship we were created to have with God.  We were to have an up close relationship with Him, “And they heard to sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day . . .,” (Gen. 3:8, NKJV).

Let your mind go back, not to the sin but to the experience of being with God in the garden.  Adam and Eve experienced God on a level that no other being will have privilege to.  Surely this was not the first time God had paid them a visit for they knew what it sounded like when they heard Him walking.  They had a realistic divine view of the Almighty here on earth.

What would it have been like to have the Sovereign of the universe, day by day to come and see about me?  What would it have been like to see the mouth that spoke things into existence speaking to me?  What would it have been like to hear those footsteps with my own ears and know it was the Lord?  What would it have been like to see the hands that fashioned me from nothing standing there, willing to clothe me, Gen. 3:21.  What would it have been like?

There, before the Fall, fellowship with God was uninterrupted by evil.  There the beauty of all God is could be seen by those He created.  There, peace was the predominate feeling because the shaker of peace had not come on the scene.  There, God spoke to man face to face unhindered by fleshly desires.  There, it’s hard to imagine, but life was nothing but good because man knew nothing but God.

Imagine the best backyard barbeque.  We sit around laughing and enjoying the company of others.  In the garden with God, can we even imagine Adam and God chit-chatting about the day, about the animals or about life in general?  Can we imagine the way Adam’s heart must have felt assured every time He heard the voice of God speak to him?  Can we imagine that when Eve was presented to her husband there was no fear, only love, because that’s all they ever received was love on the earth?  Can we really imagine?

It may be hard for our mind to fathom such an age of innocence and honesty.  It’s hard for us to see what this must have been like because now our view has been corrupted by sin.  But I imagine it was glorious.  It was nothing like we’ll ever know here on earth.  In that garden, during that time, beauty is all that was seen with our eyes and with our hearts.  God was all that was known.  Oh, imagine.

It’s hard to put into words when everyone was right before God.  It’s hard to describe from one’s soul a place of longing but never viewing.  It’s hard to capture the essence of what being with God was like there, and yet my heart still yearns to know what would it have been like?

What do you think it would have been like to see the world at its best?  What do think it would have been like to fellowship with God at your best?  Where we live in the mid-Atlantic region we are expected to have rain most of the week with only a break for a sunny day on Friday.  Even in this dreariest of settings, I’m looking at the trees swaying outside my window and imagining the beauty of that time.  I guess that’s what it would have been like: Beautiful, because everything was in harmony with God.  Beautiful represents their relationship with God and it represents the surrounding that God created for them.

This is where my wandering mind had taken me today to ask, “What would it have been like?”  Tune in for there are more in this series to come.  God bless you!

“God Notices You Today!”

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Photo Credit: Wallpaper4god.com

There are times in life when you feel absolutely invisible.  If you’ve ever seen the movie “Princess Diaries” you know exactly what I mean.  Mia, played by Anne Hathaway, was a young girl who did not really fit in with the popular crowd.  She went virtually unnoticed by most and at one point was sat on by another due to her “invisibility” problem.  When it was found out that she was a princess suddenly everybody stood up and took notice.

I would venture to say that most of us do not have a long-lost relative that is going to show up one day and declare we are of royal lineage causing people to stand up and take notice of us.  But what I like about God is He doesn’t care if we are royal or not, He loves us enough to stand up and take notice regardless.  One of my favorite verses I often pray is from Psalm 8:4 where the question is asked, “What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?” (KJV).  This really strikes the cord of love with me because when we think on the greatness of God and His willingness to pay attention to little ole us – awesome!

I was reminded of His generosity toward us as I was reading in the book of Ruth this morning.  Ruth asked Boaz, “Why have I found favor in your eyes, that you should take notice of me, since I am a foreigner,” (2:10, NKJV).  The “unworthy” gets noticed.  Admittedly, she declared that she is a “foreigner.”  The Bible tells us, “Ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ,” (Eph. 2:13, KJV).  We were “foreigners” to the grace of God, yet He took enough notice of our dire state to bring us near to Him and to love us.

Often I contemplate His goodness and my unworthiness.  I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, there was nothing I did that would make God stand up and take notice of me.  He chose to pay attention to me, as well as the rest of humanity, because He loves us.  It may seem perplexing when we consider that He is ruling the whole universe and is still  paying attention to us, but He is!  He is “mindful” of you and I today.  “The eyes of the LORD are upon the righteous,” (Ps. 34:15, KJV).  To Him, you stand out from the crowd already, and God notices you!  You are already royalty enough for His favor!

God bless you today as you walk in the peace of this wonderful truth!

Talitha

If you were to ask the Lord what His chosen name would be for you, what do you think it would be? And what is the meaning behind it. I love this post because here is a woman who, in prayer, asked that question of God and the answer was astounding. Read it and be encouraged.