Friday, August 31, 2012

Grace Is Greater

It’s not always easy to look up; guilt has the ability to weigh your heart.  It weigh’s the heart with questions, doubts of one’s worth, and shame.  As your mind re-plays the event over and over; it seems the guilt is permanent.  Although the day is filled with activities; no joy is present and peace seems to be a distant memory.  Although life is performing; living is dead.  Hope seems to be fading; as the hours pass until grace arrives. 
God's grace is GREATER than our sins even if we feel as Paul who claimed to be the “chief of sinners.” (1 Timothy 1:15)  If Paul was the worst sinner; Christ still redeemed him to fulfill His purpose.  Grace redeemed the chief of sinners to display his unlimited patience to us. (1 Timothy 1:16)  Paul was an example of Christ’s redemption, His power displayed before the world. 
“We must allow sin to wound us; so we know the cut it loves.” David Arnold
Our lives don’t have to be filled with a track record of guilt; grace and mercy can wipe it clean.  Guilt is important; it causes to recognize our wrong.  Besides recognizing our wrong; we realize we offended God.  Guilt must be felt for repentance to occur but we must understand the difference between guilt and condemnation.  What is the definition of guilt?  According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, “Guilt is defined as the fact of having committed a breach of conduct especially violating law and involving a penalty; broadly.” (  Condemnation is defined as “the act of judicially condemning.” (

The mission of Christ wasn’t condemnation; it was redemption for all who believe.  Believing in Christ removes us from condemnation; it’s only those who don’t stands condemned.  “Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.” (John 3:17) 
So, we must understand we all have violated God’s law.  No one is exempt, we all have sinned.   (Romans 3:23) Besides recognizing our penatly, we need to be sorrowful. "Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. See what this godly sorrow has produced in you: what earnestness, what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what concern, what readiness to see justice done. At every point you have proved yourselves to be innocent in this matter." (2 Corinthians 7:10-11) Yet, we don’t have to live with guilt or shame.  If we truly want to be cleansed from our sins, we have to come to Christ.  Christ doesn’t want to condemn anyone; He took our penalty.  (Galatians 3:13) We can only be justified freely by His grace through the redemption of Christ. (Romans 3:24) 
Grace arrived at the cross; it paid the penalty for sin completely.  If we are truly sorrow for our sins; we must repent for them.  Repentance admits the wrong, admits their need of help, and turns from it.   Grace erases all sin, sees the need, and strengths the feeble one to stand.  So, guilt doesn’t have to be upon your heart; grace and mercy can cover it.
It’s just time to come to Christ who is willing to forgive us our sins; if we confess them.  “If we confess our sins, he is FAITHFUL and JUST and will FORGIVE us our sins and PURIFY us from all unrighteouness.” (I John 1:9)  Love covers a multitude of sin.  Regardless of your past mistakes; Christ will give you a future.  A heart truly repent will never be denied access to God.  God has never seen someone He didn’t love or desire a relationship with.  Our Father sent His Son to die for the WHOLE world, so that includes you. (John 3:16) It’s not impossible, He made it available.  So, it’s time to lay down the guilt for exchange of a new life.  Guilt doesn’t have to rob your life; grace wants to give a new one.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

With All My Heart

 Our heart is what God is after, a completely devoted heart.  Our loving devotion will be tested on this earth, no one is exempt.  It’s through the tests our hearts reveal our character, what we really believe, and our devotion to God.  In this life, we are either preparing for a test, going through a test, or finishing a test.  It’s one of the seasons of life we will encounter.  Under Heaven, there is a season for all. 

Often I reflect on the children of Israel who had an interesting journey with God.  Yet, the journey revealed the center of Israel’s heart with each step.  The journey to the Promised Land wasn’t a test of God’s character or His Word; it was a test of devotion to God.  Sadly the adventure wasn’t a short journey; forty years of traveling to one destination.  Oh, I could hear my children!  “Are we there yet?”  Keep in mind, Israel didn’t fail all of tests but they seemed to fall short on the same issue: a heart of devotion.  Who truly owned their heart?
It’s not easy to allow our hearts to be searched by the Holy Spirit.  Yet, it’s only when we allow the Holy Spirit to search it, we can be led.  Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.  See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way of everlasting. (Psalm 139:23-24)  We can’t be lead to a pure life if we don’t allow God to search us.  Sin holds us back; grace lifts us up.  Yet, sin isn’t always the issue; it’s a test of obedience to what God requests.  Who went through such a test, our father in the faith, Abraham. (Genesis 22:1) 

Nothing should ever take our devotion from God.  It’s not only what God longs for, it’s what He deserves.  Yet, it’s through the test, we learn our true heart.  Isaac was a promise from God, a precious promise Abraham waited for.  Abraham wasn’t a young man during the time of Isaac’s birth; he was about a hundred years old. (Romans 4:19)  Abraham didn’t weaken his faith although the circumstances stood against him. (Romans 4:9)  During the waiting period Sarah did become impatient, so she told Abraham to sleep with her handmade, Hagar.  Although he failed this test, it didn’t prevent from God’s promise prevailing. 
When God asked Abraham to take his son to the region of Moriah, he didn’t question Him.  Yet, as the scripture is read (Genesis 22:1-14) it doesn’t make sense, why is God giving such a strange request?  Isaac was the promised child, so why would God ask Abraham to sacrifice him?  God was testing him. (Genesis 22:1) Abraham’s love for Isaac was obvious; it was his only son who he loved dearly.  Could Abraham possibly love Isaac too much?  Maybe, scripture doesn’t say.  Yet, it was a test of obedience to God’s request.  As Isaac carries the wood upon his back, Abraham prepares the decision.  Abraham carries not the wood but the objects to make the sacrifice complete: the fire and the knife. (Genesis 22:6)
A sacrifice doesn’t come without death and being consumed by fire.  At the altar we have to die to the will of Christ and become completely consumed by it.  The altar isn’t a monument of a sacrifice it’s where I learn to become one.  We can’t receive the riches of Christ without their being a sacrifice.  Yet, it’s only when we learn to sacrifice; we learn how to worship God.  "Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God-this is your spiritual act of worship." (Romans 12:1)  Nothing can separate us from God’s love but if someone or anything stands between our devotion to God; it’s idolatry.  It may not be an idol we are worshipping but if we treasure it more than God, we are not devoted with ALL our heart.  Whether it’s family, money, getting a career, or ministry nothing should keep us from a heart of devotion to God.  All of these desires are not sinful but it’s can’t be the center of our lives, it has to be God.  If God's not the center of your heart it will cause an uneasiness in your life; no rest.  God will not settle for second best; He will only settle for complete devotion of our whole heart.