Friday, March 30, 2012

Forgiveness and guilt

When we hear the word forgiveness, we think about all those we may be holding a grudge against, that have let us down, or hurt us in the past, but we also need to look at how our loving merciful God forgives us and how many of us also need to just forgive ourselves.

We can get so bogged down with guilt and condemnation over things we may have done in our past, that it becomes impossible for us to see God's truth about our situation. The facts may be one thing but God's truth about our sins overides any lies the enemy presents about those facts. When we repent our sins we are forgiven!! Period!! End of story... reguardless of those facts!!
Sometimes we drag all our baggage around like like a ball and chain, a bondage trophy that is there to constantly remind us of our past screw ups and failures.(those so called facts) Oh we just love taking that baggage along with us everywhere just so we can unpack it once in a while, look at it all, worry about it, agonize over it, and finally pack it all back up to be opened up again when the enemy shows up to remind us all over again of our failures and how badly we have messed up.

We need to realize and never forget that God sent His only Son to die for us to be forgiven of ALL our sins and iniquities, not just a select few, but every last one. The Bible says the Lord forgives us as far as the East is from the West, and after He forgives us He forgets all about it and has no recollection of it any more. Psalm 103:12.

When we sincerely ask to be forgiven, and turn away from our transgressions, God's love wipes our slates clean, our mercies are made fresh each day, we get a "do over!" a mulligan!" He knows our hearts, our thoughts, and when we really are trying to change. We are no surprise to God He knows our short comings, he loves us in spite of ourselves, He gives us endless chances, the scriptures say to forgive 70 x 7 times just for starters. When God has taken all these measures to forgive us, to forget our past, why then can't we forgive ourselves? It's kind of like not believing God, ignoring Him, or saying,"No thanks, I am sorry your Son had to die for me but I would rather live in comdemnation and guilt"! I imagine that must be pretty hard for God to witness.
Harboring unforgivness for ourselves or others can be a tremendous barrier that can block our blessings and keep us from having peace and joy in our lives. Look, God can turn your mess into a message, you can be triumphant starting right now, today, everyday!

Romans 4:7-8
I am blessed and happy and to be envied because my iniquities are forgiven and my sins are covered up and Completely buried. The Lord will take no account nor reckon it against me.
We need to completely bury our own sin and guilt just like God has already done! Dig the hole, bury it all!!! Walk away and never look back!!
We can be free, it's ours for the taking.

Luke 6:37
I condemn not, and I shall not be condemned. I forgive, and I am forgiven.

Thank you heavenly Father for forgiving us all our sins and remembering them no further! Help us to forgive any transgressions against others or ourselves that keep us from living the lives you have planned for us.
We praise you for your unending mercies
In Jesus name!!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Stop the fear and worrying!

I have heard it said before that if we were to write all of our worrys and fears down on a piece of paper and place them in a jar to be opened at the end of time, how many of those things we spent so much precious time worrying about would actually have amounted to anything at all?

We tend to get real independent when we are faced with tough situations, we try to figure it all out on our own often forgetting that God is standing right there with you and your problems just waiting to be invited over to your pity party so he can bring His army of solutions to the table. Can't you just picture Him , ready to go, ready to help, but we simply forget about Him and go straight to worry town, some of us could be the mayor of that place.

1 Peter 5:7 says to,"Cast all of your cares and anxieties, once and for all on to God for He cares about them all."
The Bible tell us to trust in the Lord with all our hearts, to lean not unto our own understanding.
We simply cannot be trusting God to handle our problems and go behind His back and worry about how they are going to get resolved at the same time.

We have all heard the saying,"Let go and let God", but how many of us can truly let go? Our minds can go from zero to 60 in 3.2 seconds and spin a problem way out of control, I believe that when we are anxious and worrying we turn our minds into a playground for the enemy.. If we get so anxious about a situation that we are incapable of praying to let God handle it, we have handed the keys to our hearts and minds over to the enemy on a silver platter. It's like being on a roller coaster, once you have reached the top of the worry track, you are on for the whole ride, only this ride has no safety belts or protection of any kind. We get outside the protection of God when we worry.. Its really a choice we have, we get to choose how we handle our situations, If we will do what we can, God will do what we can't. We simply must learn to trust God. The more we trust Him, the easier our life becomes because our burdens are lighter.
How many problems have you actually solved with worry anyway? How many have been made even worse by out of control fears? We can get really carried away and lose ourselves into our fears creating situations in our minds that could rival the scripts of low budget horror films.

So how can we get a grip on the worrying? We can start by following God's very own instruction list.

Phil 4:6-7 says," Do not be anxious about anything, but in ALL things by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God, and the peace of God which transcends all understanding, guards your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

It's like He thought of everything, no stone left unturned..."Don't worry about anything" ..... But, He does not stop there, He even tells you what to do instead .. He says to present ALL your requests to Him, how? By prayer and petitions, oh and .... Don't forget to be thankful while you are praying and petitioning.... because... what happens next? You will get God's peace! Not any old peace, but the very peace of God that is beyond any peace we can fully understand, and even after all that, He will continue to guard our hearts and minds so no unattended fears will manage to slip by unnoticed.

How amazing that He has provided us with all the tools we need to combat our fears. We must call God into the game and not leave Him on the bench like a 9 year old that does not get his turn at bat because everyone else on the team is better. We need to stop asking everyone else for advice and leaving our precious God for our last resort. Trust Him first! Thank Him in advance for the miraculous ways He will handle your situations, Go boldly to the throne and get in agreement with the Lord, grab hold of His peace and Let Him work it all out on your behalf.
When you feel yourself starting to worry just keep telling your self "Gods working on it," because He is! He will never let the righteous fall... That's His promise to us all.

Psalm 86:7
In the day of my trouble, I will call to You, for You will answer me.

"Dear sweet heavenly Father, I trust you with all my cares and concerns today knowing that you are bigger than any problem I face, thank you Father for loving me so much that you will see me through any challenges that life brings my way. I love and praise you in Jesus name."

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Staying positive

Over the years I have come to realize more and more the power of positive thinking and its effects on our lives.

I look back at some of the times in my life when I was so negative and living a "whoa's me" type of life, and simultaneously wondering why I was not seeing any of my prayers being answered.
Grumbling and complaining was part of my daily routine. Feeling sorry for myself was a way of life... I had gone through a tough divorce, was working full time and raising 2 young boys, feeling very vulnerable and alone and reminding myself of those very feelings everyday followed by a" why me"?attitude that ran my life. It was not until I changed my thinking and my attitude that I began to see God move in my life. I realized that I was holding my own blessings captive by having a negative mindset.

I was a Christian, this was not the kind of life that Jesus died for me to have.
That old saying, " one more trip around the mountain," was mentioned at a service where the teaching was all about the 40 years it took the children of Israel to get into the promised land, a trip that should have taken just a few weeks... Moses had the tough job of leading them through the desert wilderness. They were being lead out of slavery and were promised a wonderful new life, instead of focusing on what was waiting for them in this beautiful land, they could only rebel, complain and gripe about their present situation!

The longer they complained, the longer they remained, why would God bless them for that type of behavior? He was there the whole time, meeting all their needs, yet their negative attitudes would keep them from their wonderful destiny God had in store for them.
The Bible is full of scriptures about staying positive through adversity. There is no shortage of verses telling us That God will see us through ALL that we face when we trust in and fully rely on Him.

James 1:2-3 says" Count it all joy when you face trials of many kinds, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience."
This simply means to stay joyful even during the toughest times knowing and trusting that God will bring us through it all better than we could have imagined on our own, but it is our attitude however that will determine how long it will take!

1 Peter 1:7 says "These trials will show that your faith is genuine."
How better for God to grow our trust and faith in Him than to see how we behave in the "wilderness". It's so easy to say "yay God"! when everything seems to be going great, it's saying the same when we are at our lowest that will strengthen us and grow us in our relationship with God. Each new test is one we must first pass in order to move on to the next level.

Hebrews 10:36 says" Patient endurance is what you need now so that you will continue to do God's will. THEN you will receive ALL that He has promised."Notice the emphasis on,"then"... God gives us exact instructions on how to receive our blessings, by enduring trials patiently!

I believe God allows the hardships and trials in our lives in order for us to get out of those certain unhealthy situations and into better ones. For an example, you may have been in a situation where you were miserable at your job , you may have been overlooked for promotions you felt you deserved. Sometimes you have to be so miserable in order to leave one situation so God can bless you with a better one. You may never have left and found the bigger, better job unless you went through such troublesome times at the old one.

We must stay positive in all situations saying" God I cant wait to see what wonderful things you have in in store for me, I know this is only temporary and I am excited about my future!"

Proverbs 23:7 says, "Where the mind goes, the man follows."
We are clearly the architects of our own lives, we have a choice, its up to us. Eternal joy follows pure thoughts.

Phil 4:8 even tells us exactly what to think about, " finally brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good report, if there be any virtue and praise, think only on these things."
Imagine our lives if we could follow those instructions ..... We dont need one more trip around the mountain, lets say we check out that promised land!!

Stay positive stay focused on God. He will always show up, He may not be early, but He is never late!!!!!!

Have a blessed, wonderful and positive day!!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Gods got this!

My oldest son Kyle is a senior at Baylor University. Baylor is about a 4 hour drive from our home in Houston. When he left home as a young freshman, I could hardly handle the sadness, I missed him so much, to say I was an emotional train wreck, a basket case, would be putting it mildly. Then my baby Kris left for college last August, he chose a college in Philadelphia!!! He was recruited to play golf and after careful consideration, he decided to go 8 states away!!!!! A get a ride to the airport, stand in a long security line, possible bad weather flight delay, 4 hour plane ride, pick him up at the airport, distance away from me!!!!
How was I going to cope with this one? I was a mess just thinking about it....He would be so far away from me, his family.
I would have to learn to let go, I could not be there to make sure he was eating right, doing all his assignments, hanging out with the right kids, getting to classes and practice on time. Who would take care of him when he got sick??? What if he got in trouble or hurt or homesick??? The worst case scenario check list played out like a bad movie in my mind , this particular movie had no buttered popcorn, junior mints, or Icees, just a bad plot that I could not walk out of.
I seriously had to talk myself off the ledge!! How is it that I would be an empty nester? They were seriously babies like a week ago!!
As the time came closer for Him to leave, I knew God was giving me the ability to stay strong, the last thing I would ever want is for Kris to feel like he made the wrong choice because I was so sad. I found bible verses that showed me that this was God's will for Kris and that HE would take care of him when I could not. They were daily doses of positive affirmation that things would be OK. He loves Kris more than I could even imagine and He knew the college Kris would choose even before Kris did. I was reminded that God is their Father first and that He only loans us our kids for a short while, but yes they are indeed His.

Jeremiah 18:6 says, As the clay is in the potter's hand, so are my children in the hands of the Lord.
How comforting is that? God would be
molding him and shaping him into the man he would become, I imagined God's wonderful hands, strong, steady, secure, safe... lifting up my son...holding him, protecting him.
God's got this!!!!! Nothing is to hard for Him!! In the heavenly realms, this was a piece of cake for God, after all He could part the Red Sea and raise people from the dead, an 18 year old college kid.... a cinch!!!

God's tougher job though was dealing with me!!!!!
I needed to just let God be God! The Bible says to cast ALL our cares and burdens on to Him, and that there is no problem to big or to small for God to handle. Me worrying is me not trusting God!! This would be a huge faith stretcher for me for sure. Worrying about things I have no power to change is just" stealing joy!"

One of my favorite Bible verses is
Isaiah 41:10, "Do not be afraid, for I am with you, do not be discouraged, I am your God, I will help you and strengthen you and raise you up in my righteous right hand"!
What an amazing promise!!!
Those same hands that are taking care of my college boys will be helping and strengthening me too!!
The Bible also reminds us to stay in the present and to not worry about tomorrow today. We never know what is around the corner but God does, He is already behind the scenes taking care of everything so we don't have to. God's timing is perfect, our steps are ordered. He makes no mistakes.

I am so greatful and thank the Lord each morning for the many wonderful blessings in my life, the blessings God has given to me, the blessings God takes care of and watches over for me and for the peace and joy in knowing," yes!! God's got this"!!!!!!

Kris is enjoying college in Philadelphia. He is captain of his golf team, playing tons of golf, getting great grades, and being quietly molded into the great man God has created him to be!!!
As for me, I am learning to let my kids fly, trusting that they are covered in God's love and protection. Keeping my mind focused on God and His truths helps me to keep the mom worries at bay. I miss my boys very much but I am resting in God's peace, God's grace, which by definition is the Holy Spirit helping us to make the tough things easier, and I am learning how to cook a lot less food for dinner!!