Don’t You Know Who You Are?

Don’t you know who you are? We already know that God commands us to forgive one another as He forgives us. But another thing that many people struggle with is forgiving themselves. Too often people are living in condemnation because they have done something wrong, said something they shouldn’t have said, treated someone unfairly etc. We reason (most of the time unconsciously) that if we feel really bad about something for a really long time that we are atoning for our sins. Please understand, God does NOT want this for you!

4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. -Romans 6:4

Christ has given us new life! God does not want us living in condemnation. Now when we sin, He wants us to recognize our sin, repent of our sin, and turn away from our sin, but he does not want us wallowing in the guilt of our sin. Guilt is not of God but a ploy by the devil to keep you defeated. As long as the devil can keep you living in that misery, it will keep you away from the glory and the promises of God. While you are sitting around disgusted with yourself, God is wondering when you are going to let it go…cause he already has. In fact, not only has He let it go, He has forgotten it completely. Once you repent, God does not remember your sin. If He can let it go…why can’t you? His word tells us that when we  become saved, we become new creatures.

17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! -2 Corinthians 5:17

New Creatures! This means we think differently, speak differently and act differently. We no longer conform to the world but are made a new creation by His mercy and His grace. Make no mistake, beating yourself up for your past mistakes does NOT glorify God. It only keeps you from experiencing the goodness of the Lord, and that was never His plan. Don’t let the devil steal the joy that is available to you.

3 He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. -Psalm 147:3

Let God heal you. Believe that when God says he forgives your sin, He wipes your slate clean. You don’t have to live with it forever…you are made clean by His blood! If you have never been saved and would like to have eternal life with God, I invite you to say this prayer with me:

Lord, I recognize that I am a sinner. I believe that you were born of a virgin, that you lived a sinless life, that you died on the cross for my sin and that you rose again. I repent of my sin and I turn away from it. Lord, come into my life and make me a new creature. I love you and I thank you for your mercy and your grace.

9 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord”, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. -Romans 10:9-10

If you prayed this prayer with me and belive it in your heart, I believe you have been born again. Rejoice! You have been made new!

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Today I am thankful that I know who I am and whose I am.

Want to Finish Your Race? Then Start Running!

When I was in high school, I put myself on a timeline. I was supposed to graduate college at 22 and start immediately after graduation in a fabulous and lucrative career, get married at 25 and have  my first child at 27 or 28. This to me would have been perfect…my ideal life situation. Needless to say, that is far from how my life turned out. Today I am 28 and attending grad school, I graduated undergrad at 26, and I have no children and am no where even close to getting married. For a season, this had me very down and depressed. Why was my life not turning out as I had planned? Why had my life taken so many different roads that took me off course from what I said I wanted? What I came to realize is that it’s because I am not the one in control. You see, God is not operating under my timeline. And, its not about what I want, but how He can use me. If taking me “off course” is what it took, then so  be it.

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. Proverbs 3:5-6

This was a very hard lesson to learn, and I must admit that God is still working on me. I am a very independent person. I’m not used to asking people for help nor am I that comfortable with it. What I have found is that God will often break you down so that you are forced to lean on Him. He wants to know that you trust Him. He wants you to know that you can come to Him with anything and he will lead and guide you in the way that you should go. He loves us and He wants to know that we know that. We show Him that we trust in His love by being obedient. We show Him that we trust in His love by following where He leads us no matter how off course it may seem, because we trust that He has a better plan than anything we could ever hope or imagine.

So along with all of these “ideals”  I had for myself, came a lot of assumptions. One of those assumptions was brought to the light the other day. My sister in Christ made a suggestion that we might consider renting a house. Since my rent went up in my apartment, it would make better financial sense to pay a little bit more for a two bedroom house than it would to continue paying astronomical prices for a 1 bedroom apartment. Not to mention, we would have a yard and could have a dog and so forth. Funny thing is, my first thought when she mentioned it to me was, “I can’t rent a house I’m not even married!” What???!!! Immediately I was struck with how illogical it was to think that way. Not that everything has to be logical, but that was just ridiculous! I’m not married, so I can’t have a house??? I had never even thought about it until I heard myself saying it in my head and it sounded asinine. So, we immediately jumped in the car and started looking around the neighborhood for For Rent signs. As we were driving, I started thinking about why I would even think such a thing and I started to realize that its because I was waiting on perfection or my idea of the perfect situation. Then it dawned on me…If I wait until marriage to have a house of my own, I might never have one!

God placed it on my heart that too often we are sitting around waiting for the perfect situation before we try anything. We are waiting on the stars to align, the sea to part, and the thunder to clap just so we can begin to move. But that kind of thinking, most of the time, will just keep you stuck  in the same place…forever.

13 No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not yet achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward for what lies ahead, 14 I press on to reach the end of  the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us. -Philippians 3:13-14

 I. Press. On. This means you are active…doing something…anything…but you are NOT doing nothing! You are not waiting for everything in your life to be perfect! We can not allow ourselves to let the devil trick us into believing that our lives have to be perfect before we can do anything. You see, the devil wants to keep you stuck. It (yes I call it an “it” because thats exactly what I think of “it”) wants you to belive that unless your life is perfect, unless you are perfect you are not worthy of having anything, doing anything, achieving anything. The devil is a LIE! God wants us to live a life of abundance! God is NOT asking us to be perfect, but He is asking us to try and trust that He will lead us on our journey. Too many of us are stagnant because we have let the devil dupe us into believing that we can’t move because our situations aren’t perfect and the kicker is, they never will be. We as humans will never achieve perfection on earth…BUT we can strive toward it! That means we are actively doing something! That means we are making an effort to become the people that God has called us to be. Trust God…let Him use you…and get moving today!

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Today I am thankful for the understanding that I don’t have to be perfect to start running my race, because God runs right beside me.

Weeping may endure for a night…

But JOY comes in the morning!

I think we have all had those seasons in our lives where everything seems to go wrong. You don’t have a job or you’re stuck in a job you hate. You don’t have the spouse you want or, if you have one, he/she is riding your last nerve.  You can’t have kids or the kids you have are behaving every way but good. You can’t afford to go to school or your going to school but can’t stand your professor and are now starting to question your decision to go in the first place. I could go on an on, but the point is that all of these things are enough to, at times, make you want to cry. Understand, you are not wrong for having these feelings. They are natural and a part of living life. BUT, it is wrong and very detrimental to stay there.

5 For His anger is but for a moment, but His favor is for a lifetime or in His favor is life. Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning. -Psalm 30: 5

God can turn our situations around for our good! He says to cast your care upon Him! I don’t know about you, but this brings me peace beyond understanding. Sure, I can get upset and cry…I’m allowed to do that, but don’t get stuck! Don’t get so swallowed up in your situation that you forget the power of God. There is no mountain so great that He can’t climb and no valley so low that He can’t dig you out!

11 You have turned my mourning into dancing for me; you have put off your sackcloth and girded me with gladness -Psalm 30:11

Release your situation to God. Let Him handle it and walk into His perfect peace. Cry…scream…holler…shout (to yourself not at others) if you have to, but whatever you do, don’t stay there!  Let go and let God!

3 You will keep  him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You. -Isaiah 26:3

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Today I am thankful that I can cast my care, worry, depression on God and live in His Perfect Peace.

Wings of Forgiveness

A lot has happened in the year and three months since I last posted. I am still working at the job that I started at the beginning of 2010 and that is going well. I got my own place, started dating someone, joined a church, broke up with the someone and finally started graduate school. Through all of this, I have been through a roller coaster of emotions and am continuously learning about myself while developing a deeper relationship with God. Daily I am confronted with things about myself that I need to change in order to become the person I was meant to be. The most recent thing that God has been dealing with me on is the issue of forgiveness, or rather unforgiveness.

14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. -Matthew 6:14-15

When I was a little girl, I had a dream that has stuck with me just as vividly as the night it happened. In the dream I was sitting on floor, indian style, with my best friend watching one of those old box television sets that sat on the floor (that should tell you how long ago this was). Anyway, we were watching one of those old Gladiator shows…not the ones where people dress up in elbow and knee pads and run around gauntlets for sport, but more like the movie Gladiator where people fought to the death. I’m watching it and then all of sudden, I ‘m in the TV screen and I  am one of the gladiators! Only now, no one is dressed in loin cloths and sandals, but rather full on brightly colored costumes with masks and intricate weapons like curly swords and daggers. It was wild!

So I’m in this ring with people all around me fighting and I am killing off people one by one. Never seeing anyones face because they are concealed by the masks, I would fight and kill one person and then move on to the next. Finally, I started fighting a person who was putting up quite a fight. As we dueled he started repeating to me over and over,

When you finally hate me, I will kill you!

When you finally hate me, I will kill you!

When you finally hate me, I will kill you!

At that point, I woke up. I have never forgotten that dream and for the longest time I didn’t know what it meant. Now I realize that it was symbolic of how many of us live our lives in unforgiveness. Someone hurts you or treats you unfairly and you hold on to the pain and the anger and resentment, not  realizing that the only person that is suffering is you. When we hold on to the pain from the hurts someone else has inflicted upon us, it keeps us in that place of defeat. It keeps us trapped sorrow and unhappiness. We start to live in  land the land of “Woe is me” and “Why do bad things always happen to me?” Meanwhile, the person who has transgressed against you has moved on with their life.

What we fail to realize, however, is that most of the time this prison of unforgiveness that we are living in doesn’t have a lock. We are free to leave at any time. At any time we can choose to free ourselves of the bondage of unforgiveness, but we choose not to in the name of ‘teaching someone a lesson’. Well guess what, the joke is on you! While you are walking around mad at the world and defeated trying to teach someone a lesson, that person has moved on and is living their life. Please understand, Forgiveness is not for the other person, it’s for you. Forgiveness is the tool God gives us to be happy even when people hurt us.

I don’t mean to make it sound as if this is as easy as breathing. I have found it quite difficult to forgive people when I have been hurt, but the only person who has ever stayed hurt is me. You have to decide that you are going to take the control back. Don’t let what someone else did or said dictate how you live your life.  It is your choice and it is your command. God commands us to forgive others as He forgave us. Make no mistake…no one is perfect! At some point in time, we all fall short of His glory, but we can choose to live in victory. You may be thinking, “but I’ve been hurt so  many times! How many times am I supposed to turn the other cheek?”

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!”

That’s right! We are to forgive or transgressors an infinite number of times, because that is exactly what God has done for us!

22 Because of the Lord’s great love, we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. 23 They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23

Isn’t it wonderful to know that God’s mercy towards us is new every morning? That means it never stops! He will always forgive us if we come to him and ask for it with a sincere heart! If God can forgive us for anything while He is sinless and perfect, why should those of us who are imperfect sinners (that’s all of us folks) think that we don’t have to?

If you are living in defeat and harboring unforgiveness in your heart. I urge you to start asking God today to teach you how to forgive. Don’t let hatred and unforgiveness kill you.

 


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Today I am thankful that despite my imperfections, my Father in Heaven sees fit to forgive me and I am thankful that he will continue to work on me as I strive to walk out of the prison of unforgiveness.

New City, New Job, New Life!!!

Hey Everyone!!!! So, big things happening! I have moved, secured a new job that I am very excited about and am starting a new chapter of my life! So excited! Thanks to ALL who made it happen! 😀

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Today I am soooo thankful for new opportunities and all of my friends and family who have supported me and encouraged me and prayed for me! I cannot thank you enough! I love you!

Bye Bye 2009!

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I am thankful to say bye bye to 2009!

Angels On Earth

I was having a conversation with my best friend yesterday about how our lives has been tough lately. We were both speaking about how we are trying to keep the faith, but it has been difficult. I admitted that, at times, I felt I had lost my faith…that sometimes it was just really hard to see through all the crap in my life to believe that things really are going to get better. Still, we both desperately wanted to believe….

Today I called my mother to ask her if we had any stamps. “You won’t believe what happened!” she said. She began to tell me a story that rekindled my faith in people, in humanity, and in God. My mom works for a company that escorts people with physical and mental disabilities. She basically picks up and drops off people any where they need to go. Today, she was picking up a little old man and taking him to his dialysis appointment. He’s a regular and always holds long conversations with my mom.

On one trip, they traded stories about their lives. My mom told him about her kids (she is so proud), and the little old man told my mom about his life.  He regaled her with stories about his life and confided that his wife is terminally ill and when she dies, he wants to stop taking dialysis so that he can go with her. At this point in the story I started to cry.

On this day, however, when my  mom came to pick him up he asked that she come inside for a moment. “My wife has something for you” he said. The little old lady handed my mom an envelope. “Don’t open it until you are in the car alone”, she said.  “Ok, well I don’t know what it is, but thank you!”, said my mom. As she escorted the little old man into the car to take him to dialysis he told my mom, “you can go ahead and open it now…since its just you and me.” My mom complied and opened the envelope to find $2oo dollars in cash. She looked at him with questions in her eyes. “Do you remember when you told me about how when your kids were little,  you were living in an apartment with no heat in the dead of winter and you had to stuff bed sheets under the door to keep the heat, from a little space heater you had, in the room?” he asked.  She nodded. “Well this is just to kind of make up for that…I know things are tough for you right now but, as my wife always says, we  can’t take it (the money) with us.”

Yesterday I wasn’t sure. Today, I know more than ever that everything will be ok.

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Today I am grateful for answered prayers. I needed a sign, and God sent his angels on earth.

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