Prove It!

boat-962791__180I am so fascinated by the story of Peter walking on the water. There are so many angles to look at this and so many lessons to be learned. Peter was the only one that stepped out of the boat. They all doubted that this was Jesus and Peter said if it was Jesus, to command him [Peter] to come out on the water. Jesus held so much authority to Peter, than when He commanded Peter to come, Peter got out of the boat and walked out to Jesus. When Peter realized that the wind was boisterous, he began to be afraid. He knew, however, that all he had to do was cry out to Jesus, and Jesus would save him from drowning.

Looking at my life up to this point, I look at all those times I asked, “If this is You, God, then do this.” But then, I ask in multiple other ways for God to truly prove this is Him. I have become so afraid to fail at something that I don’t always trust that is is really God asking me to do it. Peter asked for one confirmation that this was Jesus, and Jesus answered him. Immediately Peter got out of the boat. This wasn’t some little thing that Jesus asked of Peter. Peter could have died. I may feel the Holy Spirit leading me to talk to this person in the aisle of the grocery store and by the time I have asked God to confirm this is truly Him for the eighth time, that person is long gone.

historical-odtworstwo-904717__180Peter gets so much flack. He cuts off the soldier’s ear. He publicly denounces knowing Jesus three times. Even knowing some of his big mistakes, Peter is the type of guy I would love to hang out with. Peter would be the first to do something every time! He must have been so much fun.

Peter had such a love and reverence for Jesus. Oh yes he made many mistakes, but Jesus saw so much in him. Jesus saw the gifts inside of Peter. Nobody else got out of the boat that night. I bet they were all thinking, “Let’s see what happens with Peter and then we’ll know if this is truly Jesus. Maybe then we will get out of this boat!” At least that is one of the things that I may have been thinking.

I want to have so much faith in my God that I am the first to get out of the boat. I want my focus to be so much on Jesus that I don’t even notice the winds and the waves around me. I want to have such faith in Jesus that if my foot stumbles and I take my eyes off of Him for a moment, and I cry out to Him to save me, that He will.

“It’s easy to say what we will do when we aren’t in the midst of a storm. It’s easy to criticize those who stumbled and fell when they were in the storm. I have to remember that at least they stepped out of the boat. They made the choice to trust God while I am challenging God over and over to prove Himself to me.”

I can’t say I’ve never stepped out of the boat. I have stepped out and been very successful in what God asked me to do. I have also stepped out and stumbled and cried out to God for help when I did. God is so good to me. He is always there even when I do stupid things thinking I know better. Jesus knew Peter would deny Him, yet He still loved him and saved him from drowning in the midst of the storm. Jesus loves us with that same love that He had for Peter. He has the same grace and mercy that He had for Peter.

I think the only thing that I can see from Peter’s life that I wonder about is the whole “cutting off of the ear.” Really? The ear? I’d like to think that my aim would have been much better. Just sayin’!!

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!”

Forgiveness When We Don’t Deserve It

God is Love. I guess that is where He is continually leading me lately; teaching me about love. Love is something I fail daily. God helps us with what love is in 1 Corinthians 13.

13 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned,[a] but have not love, it profits me nothing.

Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth;bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whetherthere are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part. 10 But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.

11 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.

13 And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

A couple of years ago I felt like I was supposed to write a song to this scripture and I began, but it is one of those songs that I just can’t seem to finish. I can’t find an appropriate ending. I still sing it in my room, and every time it truly makes the words come alive. I find myself in tears at my failures to show love. God shows me love and forgiveness and grace and mercy on a daily basis, yet I still get angry, and envious, etc etc. When my husband and I fight, I bring up old things that he has done and I have supposedly given forgiveness for. I wonder how God can forgive me so quickly when all I have to do is ask. Clearly repentance is turning away from that sin, but seriously, He forgives us and doesn’t even remember it. I find myself fuming at times even after I grant forgiveness. I am such a justice personality. I see things as just or unjust. I see the same thing somewhat in my sons and I hope it doesn’t trip them up at times. First I have to trust God because God is a just God. There are so many promises in His word about justice, so why do I feel the need to control everything!? Perhaps that is where the problem lies. I feel out of control. I feel like I have to punish my husband when we fight because I am feeling out of control, or because I don’t think he was ‘punished’ enough. That is not my job. My job is to love and respect my husband. When I don’t, I am being disobedient to God. When God forgives me, it isn’t because I deserve it. I don’t deserve it; none of us do. God forgives us because He loves us and that is who He is. I should forgive my husband perhaps not because he deserves it, but just because I love him and the Love of God that is in me, is now shining through.

I need to remember this daily, probably every hour of every day. It isn’t about what people deserve, it is about the love of God. God loves us not because we deserve it. He loves us because that is who He is. He forgives us not because we deserve it. He forgives us because He loves us and that is who He is. When you really think about love, it is truly amazing!

The Bible

The bible. What comes to your mind when you see it or think about it? How many people think about rules and laws when they think about the bible? It is true. The bible gives us commandments to follow and laws to learn and prayers to pray. It helps us understand morals and ways to correctly behave. One quality that often gets overlooked is the love that flows like a rushing river. It weaves through each word and paragraph and many times, when you don’t expect it, it takes your breath away.

The bible is a book that I’m not sure I’ll ever completely understand. Admittedly, I struggle through parts of the Old Testament. I know each part is there for a purpose and it teaches us and fills us with more and more understanding of who God is. The New Testament shows me how God actually sent His own Son to Earth through the virgin Mary. Jesus lived and walked among us and went through struggles just like we do. Jesus lived a perfect life. God sacrificed His own Son so that we may live. That is love! It is so easy for a parent to say that they would die for their own child, but would you die for somebody that doesn’t like you, or hates you. Jesus did! He didn’t die for some of us. He died for each and every one of us. It is finished!

As imperfect beings and merely humans, we cannot always see what God sees. We see Job as a man who lost so much. God knew Job’s heart. God knew that Job would never deny Him. We look at this book of Job and see a man who lost everything. Job is a book about God’s love. Yes, Job went through difficult times; we all do. God knew that Job would not falter and Job ended up having a greater life than he did before his trials. God was showing our enemy, Satan, that Job understood that this life was not about him, it was about God. Our life is not about us. Our ministry is not about us. Everything is about God.

The bible is a love story. I don’t even like that word; story. It’s God’s whispers into our inner most being telling us how much He loves us. In the beginning, with Genesis, He loved us. In the end, in judgement and Revelation, He loves us. Our purpose in this life is to show Him how much we love Him. How much time do we spend with Him? How many people do we tell about Him? How do others see you? Do they see frustration, bitterness, envy, pride, hatred, anger, or anything not of God?

When we fill our hearts and lives with His love through our personal relationship with Him and learning to understand Him more through the bible, we are able to speak the way He speaks; with love. Love is not compromising what the world wants us to compromise. I will never believe abortion is right, or that homosexuality is right, or that divorce is okay. The world has tried to turn love into lust and instant gratification. God is love and Proverbs is filled with scriptures that help us live in this world and know which paths to take. Love is not an emotion, but I can feel it. When my husband loves me and meets my needs and desires, I can feel it. When my sons hug me and squeeze me as tight as they can, I can feel their love. Just because I cannot physically feel God’s arms around me, does not mean that I can’t indescribably feel His Spirit inside me filling my heart with His love.

His love and mercy and grace are all around us. If you want to feel His presence, all you have to do is ask. Ask Him into your heart and begin to feel His love. He loves YOU!

Romans 10:9 NKJV

that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.

‘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.