What’s Your Identity?

dawn-190055__340I try to live my life to the best of my ability. I could sit in my room and be angry because of different situations I have had growing up. I could blame my failures on my parents. I could blame so many things on the continuous rejection and hatred I feel from my own Mother, but I don’t. I won’t allow myself to play a victim. I won’t allow my children to see me as anything but their Mother who knows her value in life.

I know so many people who have had difficult lives. I think in some ways, most of us have had difficulties in life. What kind of people do you find yourself identifying with? Our history shapes us and our culture helps shape us, but does it define us? When you open your mouth, what comes out?

summit-cross-225578__340I have so much respect and awe in people who live as overcomers. They may have been abused growing up, but they don’t live in their past. They live in the identity they know they have in Christ. When I see a man who didn’t have a father, and he chooses to live his life as a man of God who strives to be the best father he can be, I have so much respect for him. When I see somebody who is fighting such sickness or disease, yet they live their life giving Glory to God and don’t make their sickness their identity, I am in awe. These people understand their identity is not in sickness or being fatherless or being abused.

What is difficult, is listening to somebody who can only talk about their problems. There is more talk about problems than solutions today. The enemy wants us to get stuck in our own problems. We need to recognize this and we need to close our mouths. The enemy knows us so well and he knows what it takes to take our focus off God and put it right back on ourselves.

1 Peter 2:9-10 New King James Version (NKJV)

But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; 10 who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.

Imagine how much we could change the world if we turned our focus away from ourselves. We are a a chosen generation; a royal priesthood. Let us live like this and help others understand that their hope is in Jesus and not in this world.

Forgive Me Again

I shampooed most of the carpet in my home yesterday. I love that clean new carpet look after they are cleaned. There is no more dirt or stains. It is like they are brand new again. It is such a great feeling! I can look at my life the same way. When I sin, I start to become dirty, or stained. I can continue to live my life with the filth and stains, or I could choose to clean myself up. We all sin, but how we deal with our sin is what can really change us. As a child, I used to say “I’m sorry” all the time to get out of trouble. I knew it would appease my parents. I knew if I showed remorse, that they would show more mercy. I think many Christians live their lives like this; without maturity. Apologizing and asking God for forgiveness makes us feel better, but it does not change us.

Yes, God forgives us when we ask for forgiveness. He never reminds us of our sins that He has already forgiven us for. The problem with too many of us, is our failure to truly repent for our sins. To truly repent, we literally turn away from that sin and change our course. God knows our hearts. We can’t fool Him. He knows when we are trying to soothe our own soul, and when we are truly coming before Him, broken and wanting to be made whole by the only One who makes all things new. I know in my own life, there are too many times I have been almost flippant in my, “Oops! Sorry Lord, I did it again! Oh, please forgive me Lord!” Then, I choose to walk right back into that very same sin. I have to stop this. Where is the Fear of the Lord in this attitude? I should have the utmost of respect and reverence for the Almighty God, that my deepest desire is to completely turn away from my sin.

This takes maturity. We need to continually be maturing as Christians. If we truly want to be followers of Christ, we need to obey Him; obey the leading of His Holy Spirit. When we hear that still small voice telling us we shouldn’t be doing something, we need to obey Him. Yes, we serve a gracious and merciful Lord, but that doesn’t mean we continue to live a sinful life because we know He will always forgive us. Why are we even Christians if we don’t attempt to truly follow Christ in every area of our life?

“Lord please forgive me for not fully committing my life to You; for not truly repenting and turning away from my sins. Lord help me to walk in maturity and today I choose to recommit my life to serving You and loving You. I choose to understand who I am in Christ. I thank You for Your grace and mercy and for always loving me because that is who You are!”

Where is the Fear of the LORD?

Proverbs 1:7 “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.”

My husband and I were talking about this just today. What has happened to the fear of the Lord? I can’t say that I have complete understanding of every scripture in the Bible, but I feel like I understand this scripture in my own way. I would love any sort of feedback from all of you if you have anything to add to this!

Now I talked about fear a couple of days ago and I pointed out that we are to no longer have fear; that Jesus took it up on the cross with Him and we are freed from it, but this ‘fear of the Lord’ is a different fear. This fear is in reference to utmost respect and love and reverence toward Him that we are in absolute awe of Him. This fear is complete abandonment of our former sinful lives and nature, and trying to live our lives Christ-like. Christ loves us; all of us, unconditionally, but He will never change His mind about sin.

When we look at the news and the world around us, the world wants us to see ‘progress’. When you read your Bible, does it say something anywhere about one day in the future, how God will throw out all His laws and commandments because society has progressed so far that we just don’t need them; we don’t need HIM? I know mine doesn’t say that!

I believe many in the church who have compromised their morals and lifestyles in the name of progress have lost that fear. I believe we live in a ‘God will forgive me’ society that lacks repentance. I can’t say that I am sinless. I struggle with things often, but I will forever bind His word to my heart. I will learn even more so, to fear my God because He is a Worthy and Holy God. I think we humanize God and try to make Him like us so we can understand Him better. I know I have found myself in the past doing this. I would ask myself, “How does God forgive so quickly and easily?” Well, because He is God!

God gave us a will so we can choose Him. I will choose Jesus over immorality in the name of progress every day. I encourage you today, get to know Him. Spend time with Him.

Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord God Almighty. Who was, and is, and is to come!

No More FEAR!

As I sit here listening to “No Longer Slaves” by Jonathan David & Melissa Helser, I find myself really listening to the words. We are no longer slaves to fear. Those words are so important. I know in my own life, I have missed out on too many things because of my own fears. I feared unusual things, and what many would consider to be ‘normal’ things. We find in 2 Timothy 1:7 “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” It does not say that it is okay to fear certain things! God sent His son to die on the cross for all those fears, no matter how rational you think they are. I do not like bugs or heights, but I don’t fear them.

God does not want us to live in any sort of fear. Give your fears to Him! He has given us a sound mind. I can’t tell you what that scripture means to me having lived with massive anxiety for too many years. Don’t give up this life because of your fears. Go outside and enjoy God’s creation. Look at things with new eyes. Go to the top of the Empire State Building and see what beauty you can find there. Go to the ocean and find the beauty there. Go to your mirror and find the beauty there. Go for a drive and revel in the beauty of nature.

Beauty is everywhere. You will find it more easily if you are no longer a slave to fear. You will see the beauty in others as well as this world. We have enough to overcome in this world than to let fear control us to the point we can’t leave our homes, or even our towns.

Your fear died on the cross with Jesus. It is time you left it there. When Jesus rose, all our sins and fears were washed away. His blood saved us and to this day spares us from all fear and anxiety. Let’s rise up and walk together as one body of Christ without fear. One day without fear will turn into two. Two days will turn into three and before you know it, you will be walking in complete freedom from fear and anxiety. You can do this!

‘Til Death

I love being married. It can be very difficult, yet very rewarding. My husband and I are opposite in so many ways it can be a challenge for each of us. One thing we are not opposite in is our belief in marriage. Marriage between one man and one woman; as God intended. We are both saddened by the constant news about divorce and how rampant it is; even in our own families. We believe that divorce is not an option. We hear people talk about how the Bible tells us the reasons that we can get divorced. The Bible talks about how people’s hearts were hardened so they got divorced. The Bible is not a how to get divorced handbook. ‘Til death do us part is a covenant between you, your spouse, and God. To me, ’til death is pretty cut and dried. We are married until death parts us.

I am thankful for God’s grace and mercy. I believe God’s grace covers a multitude of sins, including divorce. He loves us no matter what; no matter how good we are; no matter how bad we are. He loves us…plain and simple. I love my husband; no matter how good he is, no matter how bad he is. I love him. He loves me; no matter how good I am, no matter how bad I am. Love is not an emotion. Love is not that high you get in a new relationship. Love is commitment. God is love. God hates divorce. Divorce is selfish. I know these are probably not popular words, but as Christians, followers of Christ, we seemed to have merged the path less traveled to the widest path available. We make excuses why we should be allowed to divorce our spouse. Some of these excuses are completely legitimate….as to why we should get into counseling.

People don’t just fall out of love with each other. They make choices to stop loving and remaining committed to each other. Instead of finding excuses where you can get a divorce, find excuses on why you should stay committed to each other. Start with your vows. Those are powerful words; in sickness and health, rich or poor, ’til death do us part…etc etc. Instead of naming all the reasons why your spouse is wrong or finding all their faults, start with yourself. Be honest with yourself and name your own faults. Find ways to work on yourself and go before the throne of God and find a way to begin again. Give yourself to your spouse and make your marriage about them, and not yourself. Marriage is a gift. Don’t squander it.

White as Snow

I got to be a part of the snow in the south this week. It wasn’t new to me. I am actually from pretty far up north, where there it felt like there was snow year round and it was so very cold! It still makes me excited to see it and smell it and go outside with my boys and play in it. There is just something about that first snowfall when everything turns pristine white. 

My boys make me laugh because as soon as it starts snowing, they are outside ready to built snow forts and have snowball fights. I keep telling them it takes a while for the snow to get deep enough to do those things. I love watching the drab ground and trees begin to gain this white beauty that only God could create. His beauty is breath taking and inspiring. 

One thing that comes with the snow, is the melting of the snow. There is such beauty when the snow covered ground holds this perfection; but perfection is not real. Sometimes things may look perfect, but eventually, the snow melts and what was underneath is seen again. This imperfect beauty is allowed to shine through. That white perfection melts away and reality comes back full force. 

We may try to cover our imperfections with this perfect looking appeal, but eventually, that goes away and our imperfection shows through again. God made us all so unique and imperfect. We need to try to celebrate our uniqueness. Too often I find myself trying to cover myself; to hide myself. The problem with that, is one day, somebody sees what is shining through underneath. Often times, we are blessed with people who see that shining through, and love you for it.

We need to try to be more Christ-like; and He is perfect, but that does not mean we change who He created us to be. What did He create you to be? What gifts did He freely give to you? Don’t cover it all up. Believe in yourself, because underneath all that exterior that you use to hide who you really are, is that beautiful person God created you to be.