Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Best Intentions Or Best Effort

As this year closes, I started to ponder a question, "What did I do for the Lord this year?"  "Did I give my best intentions or my best effort?  Intentions can be completely pure as white snow but if there is no effort; it's meaningless desires.  Christ advised the disciples to "Keep watching and praying that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." Matthew 26:41

For faith to function properly it has to be put to work.  Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself. (James 2:17 NASB)  Without works our faith will have no ability to grow, reproduce, or exist.  Visions are important for they will bring clarity but faith brings it to reality.  Nehemiah had an enormous burden to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem; it wasn't a small vision.  Yet, Nehemiah didn't just envision the completion of the wall; he used his hands to complete it.  With either a sword or shovel he worked diligently with the resources, God's people, and focused on the task.

 "Instead, I devoted myself to the work of this wall.  All my men were assembled there for the work; we did not acquire any land." Nehemiah 5:16

Although his enemies tried to attack his work with their wicked schemes; Nehemiah stayed devoted.  He stayed faithful at the task until it was completed.  He never left the work or the people for the honor due him.  So, how are you feeling about the year 2012? Did all your goals get accomplished?  If so, praise the Lord!  If not, praise the Lord!  Why?  The plans of God can't be stopped even if we were unfaithful in the journey.  "If we are unfaithful, he REMAINS faithful, for he cannot deny who he is." 2 Timothy 2:13  God's faithfulness will never end but it doesn't give us a reason to be lazy with His call.  We are to be faithful so we can produce fruit that will last.

I admit, some of my goals for 2012 didn't get complete.  Am I disappointed in myself?  Of course.  Yet, I will not allow disappointment to give birth to discouragement for it will prevent clarity to the road ahead.  We all will face disappointments or failures but we have to make an appointment to start over.  Satan longs for us to be discouraged, so we don't finish the race.  The finish line hasn't moved; it's always at the end of the race.  It will keep me focused to the end but perseverance will ensure I finish.  If regret is knocking at your door; it's time to answer with God's grace.  So, rekindle the vision until 2013 by brainstorming, write down ideas, seek godly counsel, and pray! Commit the ideas to the Lord, seek His face.  He will direct your steps to His perfect will; He will give success.  It's not impossible!  Faith and works must be married for the fruit of labor to grow. 

"Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans will succeed." Proverbs 16:3

It's time to brush off disappointment, cast off past failures, and pick-up the tools.  Get back to work!  Time wasted is forever lost but time invested in eternity will last.  Whatever vision God has given; it comes with a wonderful guarantee-He never leaves us!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Know This Love

If we have a distorted image of God, we will have a distorted image of ourselves.  If a person stands in front of a broken mirror, the image will not be clear.  All of the chips, cracks, and broken pieces will prevent the image to stand whole.  What are the chips, cracks, and broken pieces?  The chips are ungodly words spoken into our lives through family members or friends.  Abusive words spoken by a friend or family member will pierce right into the heart.  It attacks the center of our being causing us to question our existence or worth.  As the chips get punctured into the mirror, they form into cracks.  The cracks are the unhealthy words we believe about ourselves; whether they are spoken from others or ourselves.  Yet, it’s not just the cracks of unhealthy words causing a damaging effect to our image.  Although the chips and cracks play a part of our unhealthy image; it usual stems from the broken pieces of our lives.  It’s the broken pieces that tore apart our image, as they lay on the floor.   What are those broken pieces?  It’s usually horrible acts of violence taken from the innocent child or helpless person who couldn’t defend themselves.  It’s the topics we don’t want to share with others such as abuse whether verbal, physical or sexual.  It has taken our trust, our innocence, and distorted the image of ourselves.  As a child of an abusive alcoholic, I completely understand how the image of self can be distorted.  It’s very hard to comprehend how the person we love and trust can speak destructive lies about us.  Although I knew the words my father spoke were complete lies; it deeply hurt because it was MY father who said them.  Although I didn’t believe the words; they still distorted me because of his view about me.

   “We have to look at ourselves through the mirror of Christ.” “If we don’t look at ourselves through His reflection, we will never understand our worth.”  Karen Jantzi

     What started the road of healing for me?  The moment I understood, “Jesus loved me!”  Unwanted, abused, alone but JESUS LOVED ME!  He wanted me!

“So that Christ may dwell in your heart through faith.  And I pray that you, being ROOTED and ESTABLISHED in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to GRASP how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to KNOW THIS LOVE that surpasses knowledge-that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:17-19

 As I accepted the love of Christ, I started a journey to gain confidence, deliverance, and life.  Sadly, so many people understand the Gospel message but they never encountered the love of God.  It’s only we truly understand the love of God; we will not allow others to steal our worth.  Do you understand you are worthy of God’s love?  You are a precious treasure, you are gold!  If don’t believe you are gold or of great worth; you will allow others to tarnish your life or rob you of your beauty.
    God's love is secure; it can be trusted. Yet, if we don't rest in His love, we will never have peace, confidence, and joy.   At the cross Christ not only fulfilled the Father's mission; He displayed HIS HEART! YOU ARE WORTHY OF TRUE LOVE!

     All of those chips, cracks, and broken pieces can be healed to restore your image.  Jesus Christ came to heal the broken hearted and to bind up their wounds.  (Isaiah 61:1-3)  All of the broken pieces don’t have to ruin your life, there is healing in the love of Jesus Christ.  It’s only when we allow Christ’s love to heal, we can be made whole.  It isn’t an impossible! Your life can be changed if you allow His love to change you.  Understand healing begins the moment you GRASP His love personally but the journey will take time.  The past wounds have to be dwelt with or those wounds will turn into swords to destroy your future.  
     Love is patient, love is kind.  It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no records of wrongs.  Love doesn't delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  Love never fails.~ I Corinthians 13:4-8