Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Is the Gospel Working for You?

Is the GOSPEL working for you?  

What kind of question is that?  Of course it's working for me, I believed and now I'm free of the penalty of sin and I'm not ever going to die, and, well, yeah, it worked.  

But what about now?  Is is working now?  
Are you being transformed by it's power NOW?  Are you walking in freedom now?

Is freedom even possible?  FREEDOM now, in this life, on this earth?  I want to believe that it is.  When Galatians 5:1 states that "it was for FREEDOM that Christ set us free", I want to believe that living a life of freedom is a definite reality.  But today my heart is grieving over all the bondage I see (in myself and others) and I'm not talking about addiction that is visible because it has come to it's complete end and is manifest for all to see in any number of ways.  I'm talking about people in the church pew, people who go to church, who claim to be disciples of Jesus and yet their indwelling sin is made manifest by the words that proceed out of their mouth.

No condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus as Paul declares in Romans 8:1, there is forgiveness and grace and mercy flowing from these words and great sorrow and anguish of heart at what I see being lived out of lives I know have experienced the saving grace of Christ.  

BUT, and I'm not even sure what to write next...that BUT is killing me, grieving my heart and creating anxious prayers for healing and redemption of these things that are only seen in close proximity as life is lived day in and day out. These issues haven't manifested themselves into full blown visible sin, addiction to alcohol or whatever, pornography or infidelity or you name your favorite visible sin state.  These are issues of the heart,  discontentment, anger and frustration, gossip, self-centered actions and words flowing from hearts that point to other things that dwell there, possibly undiscovered and seemingly unchecked.  IF there is knowledge of these hidden things in the heart and confession has been made to someone they trust, there seems to be no turning to Jesus for what is needed to satisfy the weariness of these souls.  There is no healing taking place...forgiveness ABSOLUTELY but what about HEALING...what about living in freedom and killing these disgusting little foxes that will spoil the vine?  And that is exactly what these little hidden issues (lest we call them what they are) have the potential to do.  Big sin starts in the heart...no one wakes up one day and says, "hey I think I'll have an affair today".  That sounds so silly but it's so very true.  There is danger lurking in OUR HEARTS, not all around us as we seemingly believe...IT IS INSIDE OF US!!!  WE have the potential to participate in the most grotesque sin our minds can fathom, the one we've said, "I would NEVER do that".  Get a grip, Yes, you would and so would I.  

So, what's the cure?  How do we defeat the sin inside of us?  How do we attain this elusive freedom?  Here's something for ya, YOU ALREADY HAVE IT, you're just not walking in it!!!  Our freedom was purchased the day Jesus nailed our sin to the cross.  But HOW do we "walk in freedom"?  

QUIT HIDING!!!  
We hide, just like Adam and Eve in the garden, we're hiding from God and our friends and 
constructing our suit of fig leaves to cover our shame!! 


The ways in which we come out of hiding and own our sin look different for everyone but the effect is the same.  When we bring our hidden sin out into the light, when we name it and turn to Jesus, and are accountable to someone (a counselor, a recovery group) there is power then to heal.  That's when you gain the POWER of the Gospel to overcome these little annoying personality straits that seem like they're just who you are...name them, call sin sin and experience healing and the power of the Gospel to CHANGE YOU!!  

Please read this with the understanding that the writer is still working diligently, pursuing freedom, confessing sin to sisters in Christ and turning to Jesus for the power to live free of my annoying sin habits.  I am THANKFUL beyond measure for women in my life (and a wonderful professional counselor) who not only believe the Gospel, they live out the Gospel to me every day!!  They love me in all my brokenness and walk with me as I trudge through this life living out of my wounded broken self.  They, are merciful and forgiving and welcoming and I will be eternally grateful for the community God is building!! 
You Girls ROCK!!!
To the rest I leave you with these words:

You're FORGIVEN

BE FREE!!

Monday, April 6, 2015

Monday Mahem

For the tired Mommas on  a Monday~

Mondays are always hard.  After the weekend Mondays are just, well Mondays.  We all know what it looks like to have a "Monday".

I bet your Monday activities were pretty ordinary as Mondays go.  Meaning the kids woke up earlier than expected because after a full weekend they will surely sleep a little longer...not a chance!!  For some reason, unknown to anyone but them, they would rather play with their food than eat it, and can anyone explain why they feel the need to pull out every toy in the toy box only to play with it five minutes before moving on to something a little more interesting and why is one outfit a day an unreasonable request.  They ask a million and one questions that come from who knows where, that you confidently answer but learn in a nano second the answer you gave was obviously insufficient because immediately out of their mouth spills yet another demanding a response.  One minute they are reading quietly on the bed until they realize you've left the room and are conversing with someone else and they feel the need to scream your name at the top of their lungs just to make sure you haven't been transported through that smart phone never to be seen again.  Oh how these little episodes seem to unravel the nerves of Mommas everywhere!

I wish during those seemingly endless days of struggle and frustration I could give you a little glimpse into the life of a sweet Momma I know. I bet she would give her right arm to feel frustration over some of your Monday mayhem.  You see, her little man has been battling cancer for a while now.  This little bald dude isn't doing the normal things that cause the frustration to loom as you navigate yet another day of mundane Monday mayhem.   He has been in the hospital numerous times, without his siblings to hit over the head or punch or swipe their favorite snack while they aren't looking.  He has been fighting for his life.  He is better now, finished with his chemo and before long his Momma will be experiencing the same type of "normal" Mondays you other Moms are having, with one exception; She probably won't be aggravated by the questions or frustrated with her disorderly house because of his playing or spilling.  She will most likely be THANKFUL that her little man is there living and breathing, fighting with his siblings and spilling his cereal on the floor!!  She has learned something very valuable over the past year; life is short, kids get sick, we take for granted what normal looks like.  We grumble and complain because we don't see that we have so much to be thankful for!  The endless days of instructing and loving and teaching and mothering don't seem so overwhelming when you understand that they are gifts, gifts of grace.  You could be at a hospital in another state waiting with your little one whose tummy is grumbling because the test he's supposed to have requires an empty stomach and he hasn't been able to eat and they don't have what they need for the test so he has to wait longer and longer until he finally falls asleep exhausted and hungry!!  You could be watching as the nurse assigned to him for the day inserts yet another needle into his little 3 year old arm so that he can receive yet another dose of something that is supposed to cure but will most likely make him severely sick and uncomfortable before it does any real good.  You could be sleeping in a hospital chair night after night while someone else cares for your other children 150 miles away because YOU are his Momma and he needs you with him so he isn't afraid.

So, at the end of your Monday or beginning of your Tuesday, take a little time to consider what your days could look like and be THANKFUL for the endless questions, the piles of clothes in the floor and the sibling rivalry that never seems to end.  Life is short, it can change in an instant.  Your once "normal" activities can quickly be replaced by trips to other towns where hospitals know more, have more and can do more, where you sleep in a chair and go days eating take out and wishing you could go back to the way it used to be because as hard as that was, THIS seems intolerable.

Oh, and one more thing, you're doing a GREAT job Mom!!  Shaping the minds and hearts of young ones is something to be proud of, to be considered profitable and important!!  Mothering is demanding and exhausting and endlessly rewarding on the other side.  Take a deep breath and before your know it, your nest will be empty and your days will be filled with quiet reflection on days gone by all too quickly!!

This momma writes from a heart full of memories of little girls who have grown into fine women!!  xoxo

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