Tag Archive | sin

Don’t Look Back

And the whole congregation of the people of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness, and the people of Israel said to them, “Would that we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the meat pots and ate bread to the full, for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.”  Exodus 16:2-3 (ESV)

Just as the Israelites did, continuing to live in the past can hold us back.  What the Israelites had in the past kept them in fear and they never made it to the promise land.  They forgot how God provided for them: escape from slavery in Egypt, a path, food, water and directions.

gaze

We all have a past.  If I could, I would go back and change some things. Many things.  I would also love the opportunity to apologize to a few people, but unfortunately I can not.

Glance back at your past ONLY to appreciate how the LORD provided for you and got you through.  Stay there only long enough to thank Him for His provisions.

Heavenly Father, thank You for Your Word.  Thank You for guiding me and showing me how my past has shaped me.  Please forgive me for wasting so much time on things from my past that I’m unable to change.  Please forgive me for not being grateful for how You protected me during that time and how You provided for me.  Holy Spirit, please help me to forget the painful and sinful moments of my past, and please remind me not to linger when my mind wanders to my past.  Thank You, for releasing me from bondage and for a new start each day!  In Jesus’ name I pray.  Amen. 

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After God’s Own Heart

  I’m heartbroken as I read this morning on Facebook that yet another
Christian friend is going to vote for the female candidate.  

If we are reading God’s Word, we have the answers to EVERYTHING in how we should live: from dating, marriage, raising our children, dealing with sin, etc.

 path

King Saul chose to do things his own way.  Through the prophet Samuel, God told Saul that due to his disobedience he would be replaced by a man after God’s own heart (1 Samuel 13:14).  When we fast forward to 1 Samuel 28, we find Saul consulting a medium and is told why the LORD had turned away from him and the consequences he would face “because you did not obey the voice of the Lord” (1 Samuel 28:18).

Americans love our country, but do we love it more than God?  If we truly love God, why are so willing to choose leaders who believe it’s okay to kill the unborn?

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 Heavenly Father, I praise You as the One True God!!  You alone appoint kings and leaders.  Father, I lift the United States to You.  Please bring us to our knees to seek Your face and Your wisdom in choosing the leaders You desire for this country and in our local elections.  Please show me how to lovingly respond to Christian friends and family who don’t follow Your Word.  Please correct us and forgive us as You corrected and forgave King David in his sin.  In Jesus’ name I pray.  Amen. 

Acting Like New Creations

When I first became a Christian 22 years ago, the LORD changed many things in me.  The first thing to go was my potty mouth.  I’m embarrassed to admit that I often used the LORD’s name in vain and used many vulgar words.

Many other things changed in my life as I read the Bible and studied with other believers.  My anger disappeared as did my gossiping.  I was calmer with my children and enjoyed life more.  Sure there were struggles and I continue to have struggles, but staying in His Word gives me the desire to turn away from my old life.

Professing Christians are allowing more and more of the world in.  I have been in churches where couples who are living together are allowed to teach Sunday school.  I have a Christian friend who told me that she wouldn’t wait for remarriage to sleep with someone.  Many of my friends have adult children or grandchildren who are turning away from the ways of God and living sinful life-styles.

In 1 Corinthians 5, the Apostle Paul wrote about this very issue and what we’re supposed to do with Christians who continue to sin:

But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one.  For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge?  God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.”
1 Corinthians 5:11-12 (ESV)

Believers should be new creations.  This doesn’t mean that we now have freedom to keep on sinning or that we won’t sin — it means we strive to be more like Christ.  If we truly love Him and say we are His, we will turn away from our sin.

butterfly !

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Heavenly Father, thank You for being a Wonderful Creator!!  Thank You for all You’ve created on this planet in order for us to live and for Your amazing beauty around us!! Thank You for Your sweet, sweet fellowship.  Thank You for each new day to serve You.  Father, please forgive me when I sin and please show me areas of my life that I need to change.  Please show me, Holy Spirit, how to be a new creation.   Please guide me to lovingly help Christian friends/family who have gone back to old ways.  In Jesus’ precious name I pray, for God’s glory.  Amen.  

Being a Good Mother-in-Law


I married my husband at 21 and became a Christian at age 33.  I
never had a Christian mentor and could have used the help of an older Christian sister when my mother passed away when I was 42.   As I revisited the story of Ruth, I realized I want to be a better Christian mentor to my own daughter, daughter-in-law and to other Christian young women.

  If you’re unfamiliar with Ruth and Naomi’s story in the book of Ruth, Naomi had been a widow for 10 years when both of her married sons passed away.  Naomi decides to return to Bethlehem and since both of Naomi’s daughter-in-laws were Moabites,  Ruth instructs the childless younger women to return to the homes of their own people.  Orpah does, but Ruth insists on staying with Naomi:

 And she said, “See, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and to her gods; return after your sister-in-law.”  But Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God.  Where you die I will die, and there will I be buried. May the Lord do so to me and more also if anything but death parts me from you.”  And when Naomi saw that she was determined to go with her, she said no more.
Ruth 1:15-18 (ESV)

Each time I read Ruth, I wonder what made Ruth decide to stay with her mother-in-law.   Was it her kindness?  Was she just feeling sorry for her?   Had Naomi been such a good mother-in-law that Ruth desired to go with her instead of going back to her Moabite people?

  I would only want to go with a woman who was kind and upright. As a child/teenager there was so much turmoil in my own family, so I didn’t have good examples.  I married into a Christian family, but I’ve only seen favoritism and badmouthing of ex-daughter-laws which made me bitter.  Rereading Ruth has shown me the kind of mother-in-law I would like to be and how God has directed me to be.

Titus 2:3-5 shows the responsibilities of females in the church body:

Titus 2

Here’s my list of rules for mother-in-laws.  Please feel free to share any advice/rules that have helped you in your mother-in-law/daughter-in-law relationship.

1. Pray for your daughter-in-law.
2. Always call ahead before visiting.
3. Do not be intrusive.
Don’t call too much, visit too much or do things without asking.
4. Don’t be critical of your daughter-in-law.
How she raises her children, keeps her house, her cooking, etc. is her business.
5. NEVER criticize your daughter-in-law to your son or other family members.
6. Do not gossip about your daughter-in-law.
7. Don’t show favoritism – this includes your own children, grandchildren, and other daughter-in-laws.
8. NEVER tell your grandchildren that their mom or dad is wrong.
9. Love and praise your daughter-in-law.
10. Do kind things for your daughter-in-law.
11. Always include your daughter-in-law.  Schedule special times with her, other daughter-in-law(s) and your daughter(s). Going out to eat or getting coffee together, a simple day of baking, getting manicures, etc. It doesn’t have to be fancy.
12. If your son divorces, be kind to your daughter-in-law, especially if there are children. She will ALWAYS be the mother of your son’s children. NEVER talk badly about an ex-daughter-in-law, especially in front of your grandchildren.

 

Getting to the Core

 It’s been an absolutely BEAUTIFUL summer here in Northwestern Missouri — it hasn’t been too hot, and this week has been in the low 80’s.  The apples on our State Fair apple tree usually ripen mid-August, but the hubby and I took advantage of the cooler temperatures and decided to pick apples two weeks early.  

wheelbarrow full of apples 

Surprisingly, most of our apples have had very few worms this year (we don’t spray our trees with chemicals).   As I was cutting up apples for freezing and canning, it was easy for me to just cut out the portions of apples that contained any worms.  Every so often I found an apple that appeared flawless on the outside, but once I cut it in half I found that worms had ruined the seemingly perfect apple.

 wormy apple

As this disappointment occurred several times over my 4 day process of preparing apples, I realized this is similar to the sin in my life.  I may appear clean from the outside, but on the inside I am just as wormy as the apple in the above photo — anger, jealousy, or any other unrepented sin sure can “eat” away at me if I am not careful.   

Jesus told the Pharisees that it wasn’t things like dirty hands that make people unclean, but that it is what comes out of a person’s heart — their core — that makes them defiled.  In Mark 7:20-23, Jesus explained this further to his disciples:

“What comes out of a person is what defiles them.  
For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly.  All these evils come from inside and defile a person.”

The prophet Samuel learned this valuable lesson when he first thought Jesse’s son Eliab was the one God wanted him to annoint as the new King of Israel:   

1 Samuel

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 Heavenly Father, thank You so much for this wonderful season of summer.  Thank You for cooler temperatures and the bountiful harvest you’ve given us.   Thank You for continuing to love me even when I look good on the outside, but am a wormy mess on the inside!  Holy Spirit, please continue to convict me of my sin of anger, unforgiveness and jealousy, and please show me if I have any unrepented sin in my life.  Thank You, LORD Jesus, for Your gift of salvation through Your death on the cross.  Thank You for loving me that much!!  In Your Precious Name I pray.  Amen.

May the TRUE Force be with you!!

May 4th is considered the unofficial holiday by most Star Wars fans to celebrate
the franchise’s film series, books and culture. The date ‘May the 4th’ sounds similar
to the series’ popular phrase – “May the Force be with you”, which is why many
fans will post on their Facebook pages, “May the fourth be with you.”

 

star-wars


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The Bible is very clear about evil (darkness) and good (light):

“Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.” Isaiah 5:20 (NIV)

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12 (NIV)

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We all have a choice: to either follow evil in our own selfish desires or to follow Jesus.
No matter how hard I want to “be good”, I always mess up because I will never measure up to Jesus. I must choose DAILY to follow Him, asking for His guidance in my struggles with the sin of this world (such as anger, unforgiveness to those who hurt me, overeating, etc.) and His forgiveness when I fail.  1 John 1:5-10 confirms that we can NOT claim to be His and then continue to walk in the darkness:

This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you:
God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.
If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness,
we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light,
we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son,
purifies us from all sin.

  If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins
and purify us from all unrighteousness.  If we claim we have not sinned,
we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.

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Emotional Triggers

Emotional Triggers

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Since the last P31 study, Satan has been attacking me with my childhood and things that I did before I became a Christian.  I withdrew from some activities to really dig into God’s Word.  With the LORD’s help, He showed me how to deflect those arrows.  Then a few weeks ago I was invited to my 35 year high school reunion.

As I started to connect with former classmates, I felt led to apologize to two people.  The first one was very gracious and we started messaging. The other was fairly nice in the first reply, but I found it odd that my apology wasn’t accepted.  In the second reply, I was told that I needed to “let go of the past”.

I was a bit hurt at first, but then quickly realized there was truth in what this person said…truth I desperately needed to hear.

The host of the reunion started posting photographs from the yearbook.  None of me, of course, because I was not athletic, not popular, not much of anything — just a teenager trying to survive.  I could feel the ungodly emotions start to come back: fear, anxiety, shame, and anger. When a “hangover picnic” was added to reunion page, I felt the Holy Spirit prompting me to delete myself from the reunion page (I am an alcoholic).

Even though I am no longer the person I was 35 years ago, the photos were bringing back emotional triggers that use to make me want to overeat.  By deleting myself from the reunion page, I removed myself from the source of my temptations: the temptation to keep looking back at my past, the temptation of wishing for a childhood that I didn’t have and the temptation to eat to fill the void from both.

In the past, I ate when I’ve been hurt. I ate when I was scared. I ate when I was angry.  I ate when I was lonely. I ate when I was sad.  I ate when I was ashamed.  When you’re a broken person with a very broken past, it’s easy to find excuses to overeat.

This time, I did not eat — I dove into God’s Word, allowing His Truth to saturate my mind instead of the lies I was hearing.  Instead of feeling sad for the childhood that I did not have, I choose to be THANKFUL for what I DO have!!

Forget

In chapter 14 of Made to Crave, Lysa TerKeurst writes how we need to deal with our emotional triggers.  I am doing this, and instead of thinking on these hard things from my past, I’m following Lisa’s advice by “parking my mind in a better spot” (page 141):

“Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse.” Philippians 4:8 (The Message)