Happy Father’s Day

As we honor our earthly Fathers for all the wonderful things they have done for us.  Maybe he would blow bubbles with you.  Perhaps your’s like mine would take you out on outings as a kid that was code for once the shopping was done we were going to Thrifty’s for ice cream.  May be he played ball with you and taught you all about sports.  Perhaps he would swing with you.  Maybe he had many business trips but would always bring home a gift for you to remind you that he had been thinking of you the whole time.

Or perhaps your dad was absent or worse yet abusive with either his words or deeds or both.  You may have nothing but bad memories of your father and the idea of celebrating this day is more than you can handle.

Perhaps your like me and your father is no longer a live and this day is just a reminder of what you are missing.

May I encourage you that we can honor a Father that loves like no other!  He is there for the hurting and wants to ease your burden.

I know there are a thousand questions for those of us who have been abused and/or witnessed abuse that we could ask our Heavenly Father, “Why would you allow that to happen to me?”

All I know is His ways are higher than mine and His thoughts higher than mine.  I’ve come to a point that there are things that I will not understand this side of heaven.  I’m alright with that.  There is so much that He has done for me that I can trust in His love and honor Him this Father’s Day as the awesome Father that He is!

Please take a step of faith with me and no matter what kind of earthly father you have and honor our Heavenly Father.  For He is at work, working all things for our good.  That is something we can praise Him for and there is oh so much more.  His grace, mercy, love, righteousness, justice, majesty and glory.  He offers that grace to all who will accept it, and merciful on those who call on Him.  He lives to love us.  Where would the world be if He weren’t righteous?  His majesty humbles us and puts us in right standing with Him.  His glory is to shine through us to bring others to Him.  What more could you ask of a Father.

How about one that keeps track of every tear ever cried and hurts that you hurt.  He wants to take that hurt away.  And replace it with His love and forgiveness.  Two very powerful attributes.

He wants to fill the emptiness that human fallible fathers could not fill.  That is why He wants us to turn to Him so strongly.

While you’re honoring your earthly father take some time today to consider honoring your Heavenly Father.  If that means giving your life to Him because you have yet to do that then ask forgiveness for your sins, thank Him for what Christ did on the cross for you and decide that you are going to live differently from now on.  Get into the Word of God so that you know how to live, and find a growing church body to be a part of.  If that means recommitting your life to God so be it.  Get in right standing with Him and do all you can to not fall away again.  If you are in good standing with God praise Him for all that He has done for you and all that you may have taken for granted.

Have a blessed Father’s Day!

Joy – A Woman After God’s Own Heart!

Remember What?

Have you ever found yourself in a place of gratitude where you feel like thanking God for His forgiveness?  Have you started listing sins for which your grateful that He has forgiven you for?  I know that I have in the past and it wasn’t until today’s devotion that I realized that He had no idea about what I was talking about.

Am I saying that God has a memory problem?  Heavens no!  What I am saying that our awesome God chooses to not remember.

I will remember their sins no more.  Hebrews 8:12 RSV

Think about that the God of the universe chooses to not remember our sins!  What a wonderful gift!  Once we’ve asked forgiveness it is done over with, finished!  Never to be mentioned or seen or heard of again!

He didn’t have to do that but that is His grace in action.  He loves us enough to offer us the grace of forgetting.  Not forgetfulness, because that isn’t a gift that’s a defect.  No His grace is the act of forgetting.  A choice He makes each time we ask forgiveness for a sin.  Now that’s a loving God and Father.

Our own fathers may have been great dads but this grace of the act of forgetting our sins is something that didn’t happen.  It’s not their fault it didn’t happen, it’s not human nature to choose to forget.

In fact it’s something that we normally don’t even choose to do for ourselves even after we’ve asked forgiveness of our sins.  If God can forgive and forget shouldn’t we?

Let’s take this a step at a time.  Do you find yourself asking forgiveness for the same sin over again and again?  I’m not talking about doing the same sin.  I mean the exact same sin as if you weren’t forgiven the first time you were asked.  If you are, stop your unbelief and trust God at his word.

I write to you, dear children, because your sins have been forgiven on account of his name.  1 John 2:12

His name is Jesus. Once you’ve accepted what Christ did on the cross for you, asked forgiveness for your sins, you are His child.  As His child you can see in the above verse that your sins are forgiven.  It doesn’t say that you need to ask again and again. Once is sufficient.  Only when we’ve sinned again do we then need to repent or ask forgiveness again.  Then do our best to live a godly or righteous life.

Now about forgetting, we remember them so that we can learn from them and not repeat them.  That doesn’t give us the right to beat ourselves  up over them.  It is of no benefit and only harms us.  We must forgive ourselves !  Learn from our errors and don’t perpetuate them by beating ourselves  up over them.  The only one that pleases is Satan.  Surely it is not our goal to please the enemy.

As the Bible says don’t give the enemy a foothold.  I know in context it is talking about anger but isn’t that a part of beating ourself up over sin?  Aren’t we angry with yourself?  We need to cut ourselves  a little slack.  We are human, we are not God.  That means that we are going to sin from time to time.  The important thing is that the moment we become aware of the sin, we ask forgiveness of it, and do our best not to repeat it.

We have an awesome God who loves us enough not only to forgive us but to forget as well.  That is something to praise Him for!

Joy – A Woman After God’s Own Heart!

Having The Mind Of Christ

“I see a different law in the parts of my body, waging war against the law of my mind.” Romans 7:23

“God will not release us from anything that has enslaved us until we’ve come to the mind of Christ in the matter.

Take the bondage of unforgiveness, for example.  When we want to be free from the burden of not forgiving, we want God simply to take that person out of our minds.  We want Him to wave a magic wand so we’ll never have to think about that person again.”

By Beth Moore in “Breaking Free Day by Day” (Devotional)

I have found this to be true in my life.  There have been people that I wish I could just forget them and the hurt that they have caused me.  But that is not God’s way.

“Who has known the Lord’s mind, that he may instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ.”  1 Corinthians 2:16

What does that mean to have the mind of Christ.  Surely as this verse points out we are not in a position to instruct God.  So what does it mean?  It means that we now have a choice to make to think in our old fleshly way or to think as Christ would have us think.

Let me give you an example.  When my marriage fell apart, I was hurt, angry and depressed.  My husband had walked away from our vows and no number of therapists were going to get him to return.  Neither was any number of self-help books or my coaxing would change his desire to turn his back first on God and then on me.  I’m not saying I didn’t play a part in all of it.  I had put my husband in front of God.  Mistakenly thinking that I was being Biblically submissive.  I was gravely mistaken and now know that I had put my husband in the position of an idol.  Nothing comes before my relationship with God.  I’ve heard said, “That a woman’s heart should be so close to God that a man would have to go to God to find her.”  I just love that!

Anyway I needed to forgive my ex-husband and the flesh, angry and hurt by his decision wanted nothing to do with forgiveness.  Yes I would wish that God would make him just vacate my mind so I wouldn’t feel this pain anymore.  But that is not how God works.  In time the Holy Spirit did a work in my life and I came to realize that to turn his back on God he must be hurting somewhere.  You see I started to think with the mind of Christ instead of the flesh.  It got to the point that even after the divorce I found myself praying for him.  He is hurting and he is lost and it is my fervent prayer that he returns to God.  That is the mind of Christ, caring for someone that may be undeserving of your caring but then, we are all undeserving of God’s caring.

As Beth Moore puts it, we think in two different mental languages one is of the flesh and one the mind of Christ (Paraphrased).  God gives us a choice on which language to think in but with that choice comes consequences.  Which ever language you choose the flesh or Christ that is the language you will become fluent in.  I choose to practice the mind of Christ more and do all I can to put to death the flesh.  What do you choose?

Joy – A Woman After God’s Own Heart

Who Does God Want?

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For a long time I felt too bad to be accepted by God.  Surely He would rather have anyone on the face of the earth rather than me.  I never realized at the time that I was being prideful.  Thinking that I was so bad that the God of the universe could not accept me.  In my sick mind I even thought that He’d accept Hitler before me.

That is not how God works however.  He doesn’t take the deserving.  If He only took the deserving, no one would be accepted because no one is deserving.  The tinniest of sins is still sin and God can not look on the sin for He is a holy God.  Holiness can have nothing to do with unholiness.

What He is looking for is someone humbled by the realization that their sin makes them undeserving of God’s grace.  He is also looking for someone who will admit that sin and ask for forgiveness for that sin, by the blood of Jesus Christ.

Once I understood that Jesus actually came for sinners and loved sinners, I came to the decision of turning my life over for last time to God.  It had been my pattern in the past to go to every alter call that I heard but since I never felt worthy, I never felt saved.

Salvation has nothing to do with feelings and has everything to do with the action of accepting what Jesus did on the cross, turning away from your sin and trusting God for your salvation.

If people think they have no need for God, they are suffering from the same thing I was, pride.  When people think that  they don’t need God, they misunderstand what God is all about.  As mentioned before God is Holy and He can not look on unholiness.  No matter how good a person may think they are they have missed the mark or sinned, which is what missing the mark means.  There is not a person on this earth that is perfect.  There was one once, His name was Jesus Christ.  He lived, died, and rose from the dead to pay the penalty of our sins.

So who does God want?  He wants all sinners to come to Him.  Since everyone sins that includes everyone.  His love is that big.  His compassion, grace and mercy that amazing and inclusive.

A Bitter Pill

Anger and resentment are dangerous emotions. Don’t get me wrong anger when handled properly is not only important but healthy. Jesus was angry at the money changers at the temple and overturned their tables and drove them out. Matthew 21:13 “It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’ but you are making it ‘a den of robbers.'” He was obviously very angry with them and we know that Jesus never sinned. Since Jesus displayed anger and did not sin, we know that there is righteous anger.

But there is unrighteous anger as well. Ephesians 4:26-27 “‘In your anger do not sin’: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.” What does Paul mean by, “do not give the devil a foothold”?

When we don’t deal with our anger swiftly as the Bible prescribes resentment takes root. That’s a deadly combination. Which the devil is just waiting to use to his advantage. You see if he can talk you into not forgiving the one who wronged you he knows that anger and resentment will cause your heart to grow hard and your relationship with God to suffer. That my friends is a bitter pill to digest.

Now don’t get me wrong I would never suggest to the wife being battered to forgive and forget and stay in that situation. God is the only one that forgives and forgets. We are only asked to forgive for our benefit. No to the battered wife or husband I say GET OUT! God does not what is children harmed.

You remember for wisdom sake. You learn from past experiences and hopefully don’t make the same mistake again.

When I was going through my divorce, 22 years ago it took me a long time to get through the hurt and anger of the situation. To be honest there was a lot of resentment and my heart did grow hard for a season. I was broken and I couldn’t understand why the marriage I thought was blessed by God was falling apart. I didn’t understand how my husband could stop loving God and me. I’ll be honest with you I was so broken that I attempted more than once to go home to my heavenly Father. Praise God, He didn’t let me succeed!

Let me encourage you that if you are going through a particularly difficult time and the anger is high and resentment is crouching at your door or has already entered your heart, pray that God would guide you. Pray for a change in your heart. Our God is the job of doing miracles. All you have to do is ask and He will gladly answer your prayer. But don’t be surprised if some work on your part must be done first. I had to honestly look at all sides of the picture before my heart was ready to forgive. Now instead of anger or resentment or bitterness about my ex I have compassion for him. Does that mean I want reconciliation with him? No! He doesn’t love God and has many more issues I would never agree to live with. But do I occasionally pray for his soul? Yes. He is lost and needs prayer.

For those things that may seem major but are not as major as the ending of a relationship. Such as a dispute with your spouse, I beg you as soon as you are able to talk with a cool head DO IT! Listen to the Word of God and don’t give the devil a foothold. If you need to take a walk before you talk, take a walk but do everything you can to handle it as quickly as possible. You are doing yourself and your loved one a service.

Once you start taking bitter pills, they get easier and easier to swallow so do yourself a favor and don’t get used to them at all. Right here, right now make the decision that bitter pills are not for you. Instead decided that you will wear the cloak of forgiveness and humility. Bitter pills make you hard and cold. The cloak of forgiveness and humility keeps you warm and loving. That’s what being a Christian is all about isn’t it?

Joy – A Woman After God’s Own Heart