Wednesday, February 26, 2014

2 Things...

Christ came to fulfill the demands of the law on my behalf...on your behalf.
because. we. could. not. stand. under. the weight. of. the.   l.a.w.

The whole law boils down to 2 things.
Just follow these 2 things and you have it....
Just 2 little things...
How hard can that be, right?

2 things.
that. is. it.

I can not fulfill that law. You can not fulfill that law.
I will be the first one to admit...I don't love God with all of my heart, soul, mind and strength
I do a pretty lousy job of loving others to boot.
Oh-I give it my best shot-I clean up pretty good.
But that isn't going to cut it.
And, since we are all human-it is my guess you are in the same boat as me.

It struck me last night when Beth talked about the blessing and the cursing that God brings on a person/nation etc for obedience or the lack of it....
That Christ died for 2 things that I couldn't do.
Obey the law.
And do it perfectly.
I can't do those 2 things.
You can't do those 2 things.
No one on this planet is capable of loving God to that degree and then loving a fellow human being...PERFECTLY.
That is why Jesus is your RIGHT STANDING BEFORE GOD.
That is why Jesus is your SUBSTITUTE.

I am redeemed. You are redeemed.
" Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us-for it is written,-- 'CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO HANGS ON A TREE'-- in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we would receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. "
~Galations 3:13-14

I'd Need a Savior- by Among the Thirsty (click to listen)

Read Deuteronomy Chapter 27-30
Memory Verse Options:
2 Cor. 5:21
Romans 10:4
Galations 3:13
Deut. 30:14

This is an amazing sermon that sums up so much of what we have covered in Deuteronomy. If you haven't listened to any of Matt's sermons yet---GRAB THIS ONE! It will bless you!!!
Sons and Slaves by Matt Chandler- part 9 of the Galations series (click to listen or print off the transcript. For the previous 8 sermons-click the Galations label and the blogs containing the links will pop up.)

Friday, February 7, 2014

Chosen & Loved

Remember when you were making plans for your wedding? Or dreaming of the day when that arrives?
 All of the details...mountains of details!
The day-- perfect...
your dress--PERFECT.

June 1, 1990
I remember waking up the morning of my wedding without a voice--I sounded like a bass singer...I was mortified! I sucked through what seemed like an entire pack of Halls Cherry flavored throat lozenges hoping desperately and praying to the good Lord above that I could rid my self of this plague before it came time for the vows... and that my tongue and lips would be a normal color.
My Dad walked with me. He gave me to my man.
I remember the huge case of butterflies in my stomach as I walked down that aisle.
 I was SO happy.
 I felt completely LOVED, completely CHOSEN by the best man in the whole wide world.
 There was NOTHING in the world  that could compare to that moment when I saw Scott for the first time
 The smile on his face was priceless.
 My faced ached from smiling back at him through the ceremony.

We took communion together for the first time.
We lit the unity candle.
We pledged our lives to each other.
We made a vow before God and witnesses.
We asked God to bless us so we could bless our future children
It was forever.
We were in it for the long run.
...and he kissed me.
We had no idea what was ahead of us.
I know neither of us would change a thing.
So far it has been 23 years

we have more wrinkles now
a few less hairs
  and grey is replacing the brown
we have some miles on our road
we have seen joys and sorrows
And we are still madly in love
Still in it for the long run.
Still feeling completely LOVED and CHOSEN

it was signed
and it is beautiful.

You were chosen by the God of the Universe and He gave you to his Son.
He saw you for the first time
before the world began
and it made Him happy.
You were chosen to be His Joy.
He planned for the day
when you would be born into this His world
He smiled.
You are not ordinary.
Because He has future plans with you...
His beautiful bride.
 Completely treasured.
Completely cherished.
Jesus committed himself to you.
The vow...
The bread and the wine.
He communes with you.
He has a cloud of witnesses to cheer you on.
He wants to bless you so you can bless
He is in this for eternity.
He will never leave you alone.
He is intimate.
He put His light in you.
He sent The Holy Spirit to dwell in you.
You may not know what lies ahead
but,He does
 and He is worthy of trust.
He has made provisions.
it is signed-
in His blood
sealed in heaven-
you have been delivered
it is finished.

" For your husband is your Maker, Whose name is the LORD of hosts; And your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel, Who is called the God of all the earth."
~Isaiah 54:5

Thursday, February 6, 2014

When the Hurt and the Healer Collide

Trust is the topic-and boy, it is a tough one to talk about today. Roots grow deep and the pain goes deeper. There are so many areas of many areas that need God's touch of healing.

Hurt me once-shame on you!
Hurt me twice-shame on me...
...and no matter what our circumstances are, we carry the shame around us like a wet heavy blanket that weighs us down and smothers the life right out of our living.

Abuse...sexual, physical, emotional.
If you were a victim-it was not your fault.
You did nothing to make it matter what anyone else said.

I worked for Children's Protective Services for 4 years...I saw it first hand. Little lives physically torn and mentally scarred. Babies physically died from sexual abuse in the county next to ours... A child in our county is physically blinded for life because of the brutality of a man. Another girl bore a child from her abuser...a boy lost all of the skin of his back because Dad got mad...that's real life. Those were the "worst" cases...there were hundreds more. Little boys and little girls...helpless.

Where is God when that happens?

My only offering...
God was there-he was weeping, too.
God was there-knowing your pain.
God was there-grieving the loss of innocence.
God was there-and his anger is kindled toward your perpetrator.
God was there-and He wants to heal your sexuality & your mind.
God was there-and He will right the wrongs that have been done.
God was there, sweet one.
God was there, holding your breaking heart.
God in his mercy saved you-brought you out of that horrible place. You are alive today and still breathing.
God in His infinite Judgment will have his vengeance on the one who did that to you.
That man...that woman...they not only offended you...they offended God.
And God is a God of Justice and his Word says that He is perfect in that Justice.
God is a defender of the weak and helpless.
And God is going to take up this fight and finish it for you.

trusting is a huge issue if you have scars from your past. Reaching out to a counselor, pastor or mentor can start the process of rebuilding trust issues.

There is a strange place...where the hurt and The Healer collide.
Learning to take every awful thing to the feet of Jesus and allowing him to heal YOU is beautifully painful. When your knees bend and the hurt from abuse is surrendered--forgiveness flows and You can be made alive...even though a part of you is broken. He is in the business of redemption..and sweet one...with God on your side you can trust again-you can live again and the shame will be erased, forgiveness flows and healing beings.The past becomes the past and not your present.

Trust the one who can make that happen for you-starting today.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Breathing Scripture

Sometimes life just happens and all you can do is breathe in...and out...and just focus on getting through. Praying at the end you are still treading water and able to out.
So, if you have had this kind of week (and it is only Tuesday!)-LETS BREATHE IN SOME LIFE GIVING SCRIPTURE. It is the only way to keep breathing-to have the strength to tread water...and even more is the life raft that will bring you to safety.
God's word...a breath of  life giving, mind altering, soul filling, joy giving, shadow chasing, LIVING AIR!!
I think it is easy when we read scripture to put someone who has offended us--to put someone with which we have regrets--into a scripture passage and I suppose that might be ok for a particular situation...but we somehow take things out of context and personalize things too much and miss the real gem that is waiting for us. In this passage...Really, THEY are not the ultimate battle. You have a greater adversary that is the spirit behind the person...that is where the battle lies. So when you read about "thine enemy" really is The Accuser himself. That is who you are fighting...and that is a much bigger battle. Pray and stay focused on getting out of the mire of regrets by breathing Scripture to slay the dragons...

" Hear, O LORD, when I cry with my voice; have mercy also upon me, and answer me. When thou saidest, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, LORD, will I seek. Hide not they face far from me; put not thy servant away in anger; thou has been my help; leave me not, neither forsake me, O God of my salvation. When my father and my mother forsake me, then the LORD will take me up. Teach me they way, O LORD, and lead me in a plain path, because of mine enemies: Deliver me not over unto the will of mine enemies; for false witnesses are risen up against me, and such as breathe out cruelty. I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living; Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart; wait, I say, on the LORD." ~Psalm 27:7-14

" Blessed be the LORD, because he hath heard the voice of my supplications. The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped; therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him." ~Psalm 28:6-7

This morning-right now-lets just praise him with--YOUR song of thanksgiving for all that He has done and will do...and I know that HE is singing over you with His.

Wonderful, Merciful Savior- by Selah (click to listen)...I love this montage...Jesus was truly God and Man...what a WONDERFUL, MERCIFUL SAVIOR!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Getting back on the Bus...

So, now that we have spent the last week IDENTIFYING our REGRETS...lets spend a day (or two!) on a few practical things to get PAST OUR REGRETS.

The question of the day is:
How do I get past the past?
hm...good question....and we have to face some our classic excuses that keep us soaking in our swampy wilderness of regrets.

1. "It is NOT all my fault anyway." does. NOT. matter.(period.)there is ZERO wiggle room here gals. It is really easy to pass the buck and look at everything the other person has done.
Obviously-you know that there is a problem because it keeps pressing the replay button. So deal with it...own YOUR part in it. Don't let the other person's part in it cloud your vision to get out of YOUR swamp. You are only responsible for your part in an issue and you can PURPOSELY CHOOSE to walk the higher road of humility. Honestly ask yourself if the tables were turned...would you need an apology? would you need compensation? would you want the other person to make things right?...if the answer is YES...than lets get down to business and take the leap to freedom from those regrets THROUGH CONFESSION.

2. " I have forgiven myself but I am eaten up because they haven't forgiven me."   ok-that. hurts. big. time. A constant prick in the side and every time you see them-or they avoid you- is another visit back to the mire of regret. What can be done for release?? BEGIN PRAYING FOR THAT PERSON. See them as Jesus sees them. They are walking in their own wilderness, too and they need YOUR prayers. Be specific-be bold-and intercede for is really hard to stay bitter at someone you are earnestly praying for. Make sure that you have done your part in asking if there is still some issues between you-and if there is....(see #1 above!!!) Sometimes the prickly cactus folks are just that. Sometimes God calls you out of relationships that are toxic...and that is ok. Don't easily shrug off relationships at the drop of a hat-but if the circle keeps going around and drama is right in the middle, ask God about it.

3. " It is too late to make things right."...not always, gals. Remember what Beth said...if you are still breathing and you didn't die during Tuesdays session-THERE IS HOPE! YOU HAVE A SECOND CHANCE. But,sometimes, it is too late. Death makes it seem impossible to heal the past regrets...Oh, the things I should/ should NOT have said or done... TAKE THAT TO JESUS. POUR IT OUT BEFORE HIM IN ALL OF THE ANGER, FEAR, FRUSTRATION, HURT AND WHATEVER ELSE IS RAGING THROUGH YOU. Take it to the one who knows the other side of the story. IF YOU HAVE DONE EVERYTHING HUMANLY POSSIBLE TO MAKE THINGS RIGHT-OR EVEN IF YOU HAVEN'T BECAUSE IT CAN'T BE DONE....simply. rest. REST in the knowledge that you are forgiven by God-He sees your heart and knows the depths of your sincerity. There is a peace that passes understanding-so call upon the Prince of Peace. It might be helpful to talk it over with a professional-even though that person is gone, try physically writing a letter to God about your past...let it all out-ask for forgiveness...take it to the graveside read it aloud and spend some time in prayer there...write the date on the note as a reminder that GOD HAS MADE A WAY FOR YOUR REGRETS TO BE FINISHED.

4. "oh-you don't know what I have done."  nope. I. don't...and I don't need to know-and quite frankly- not everyone SHOULD know about your past. (no-you don't need to post it on FACE BOOK!) But God does know -he was right that in the middle of it-eyes wide open-seeing every awful it is really not a surprise to him. He is grieving over this too. The fact that Scripture says...that "there is nothing new under the sun" ... means that you aren't the first person in the world that did THAT, that thought THAT, that said THAT, that condoned THAT, that went THERE, that went out with THEM... gluttony, anorexia, abortion,  slander, lying, fornication, alcohol, drugs, malicious gossip, stealing, adultery, cheating...the list is endless. Check out some really major bloopers in the lives of David, Rahab, Thomas, Peter, Moses... Adam and Eve for crying out loud...God has only worked with ONE perfect person throughout history...and it wasn't you. GOD MADE PROVISONS FOR YOUR SIN AND MINE.  So, just be real with God today-let God do what he does best-FORGIVE. You might need to talk with a professional to work out some of the ramifications and the deep issues that come along with take advantage of that--make the call-get help- get a group of trusted friends to support you along the way-to talk with-ones that will encourage you.

5. " My mind is a steel trap-I can't let it go." Bingo. Let's RENEW the mind...and the only way to renew the mind is through Scripture. Hide it in your heart and it will travel to the mind and recreate the broken places. Get a concordance  (or just take your Bible!) and begin reading-searching-underlining promises! Write them out on notecards and tack them around the house/work- on mirrors-car dashes-window sills-desks-night stands. Be crazy with notecards!!! When the accuser comes throughout your day/night...your weapons of warfare are right beside you! Slay the beast of regret with the Sword of the Spirit! You might really be surprised how many other people are blessed by the posting, too. If you don't know where to begin-feel free to grab a friend and ask for help in finding those promises.(feel free to mail me,too-I have a HUGE list!!!)

HUMILITY GOES A LONG WAY ON THE ROAD OUT OF THE SWAMP.  In every path to the promised land-you will need the jewel of humility. These are tough issues-these are hard things and each one of us has a list of regrets. But, laying aside our pride and reaching out is the very thing that will break us free.

LETS GET OUR BOOTS ON AND WALK IT OUT...and know that you are being prayed for today.

"All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him." ~Isaiah 53:6


That's How You Forgive- by Shane & Shane (click to listen)

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Bus Stop Regrets-You are known

Can you say with confidence that your regrets are not held against you by God?
That your regrets-your shadows of shame that lurk behind the mask you put on everyday-hold no sway in the hands of our Savior?...that his thoughts toward you are for good? 
Can you say that He doesn't look at you with the anger because of your past sin?
Do you know that every regret-all of your past-all of the shame that you have--- God wants to set free?

What would freedom look like...right this very place...without the smell of the dungeons and the clanking of the ever present chains of the past weighing you down?

Do you know that He looks at you differently that the way that you look at yourself?
(Because, I know who I am-I see the mess. I know my past and my present. I know how hideous and ugly I am. I know. Believe me. I replays in my mind 1,000 times a day and sometimes 1,000,000 times at night....and I can't imagine what the undiscovered parts of my heart look like to an all knowing-ever present, holy, God. I mean, the stuff I know about is bad enough...what about the stuff I don't know about. What about all those sins that I have committed by omission...

It. Is. A. Terrifying. Concept.

Truly, if God is who he says He is...and I am fully known like Scripture tells me I am...the depths of Hell is where I belong. So, I must clean my self up, do things that prove to Him and to myself that I am better than I used to be...that I am sorry...that I measure up...that I love him and He loves me. I perform. I do. I MAKE MYSELF appear to be more than I am. I stuff my past..., well, in the past... and I press forward thinking that it won't surface. But it does. again. and. again. What is up with THAT?!

We have let a bit of light shine on it. Just enough to make it hurt...and it hurt bad enough that we slam the door shut. Just too painful...bright light makes the eyes hurt when they have been in the dark. Oh, sure, I have confessed it a million times and I keep going back over and over and am I really forgiven? cause I sure don't feel like it...and so we talk, talk, talk, talk, talk to ourselves...and we convince ourselves that we will never be anything more than the sum of our mistakes and failures of our past.)

souls forget about grace.
minds forget about grace.
hearts forget about grace.

Take sins to the cross.
Take regrets and humble self enough to apologize.
Take victimization to the Great Physician for healing.
Take skeletons and bury those dead bones for good-and that means forgiving others and accepting Christ's forgiveness.

too much self introspection kills.(Aghhh----don't you just get sick and tired from the drama of it!?)
self absorption drowns.(don't OTHERS get sick and tired of it!)
self keeps us in our regrets and clouds our vision of a future.(doesn't everyone in your life SUFFER because of it!)

Simply. Jesus. Grace put on flesh and Grace interceding in heaven for me and for you. That is the how and why God forgets the sins and throws that as far as the east is from the west...

He doesn't see you as you are now-he sees Jesus in your place. Jesus YOUR RIGHTEOUSNESS. Jesus YOUR PERFECT SUBSTITUTE. Jesus YOUR EVERYTHING.

He sees you as you will be when he his work IN you is complete...AND IN THE PROCESS OF MAKING YOU INTO HIS IMAGE-YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL. warts and all. failures that mount to the ceiling. skeletons in the closets. broken and wounded. scars from the battles. blood and gore of severed relationships. all the grief. all of the terrors. all of the victimization. all of the abuse. all of the dysfunction. all of the scattered dreams and shipwrecks. He wants you to give it to him so he can replace YOU with HIM.

You are known. Fully. Completely. Every closet. Every dark place. Every thought. Every motive. Every intent of the heart. Every hair on your head is numbered. Every cell-every fiber of your being was knit together by a LOVING, MERICFUL, KIND HEAVENLY FATHER WHO ACCEPTS, YOU....FULLY. COMPLETELY. IN EVERY DARK PLACE he brings light, IN EVERY ONE OF YOUR THOUGHTS he brings clarity, EVERY MOTIVE FOR EVERY DEED he brings integrity, IN EVERY INTENT OF YOUR HEART he brings purity...

grace. fully. extended.
FOR YOU. TODAY. in this hour. at this moment. in all things.
And that is truly amazing.

" And they will sing of the ways of the LORD, for great is the glory of the LORD. For though the LORD is exalted, yet he regards the lowly, but the haughty He knows from afar. Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You will revive me; You will stretch forth Your hand against the wrath of my enemies, and Your right hand will save me. The LORD will accomplish what concerns me; Your lovingkindness, O LORD, is everlasting; Do not forsake the works of Your hands."  Psalm 138:5-8