Thursday, July 23, 2015

Moving Forward...

In the past several days, I seem to keep getting confirmation that I am heading in the right direction. An introduction in a sample of a book I downloaded onto my Kindle helped me to see that the world's credentials aren't what matter in God's eyes. He has called me to something specific and He will equip me.

Almost out of the blue my son asked how my book(s) were coming.

This morning, this Scripture...

Deuteronomy 2:3 3 ‘You have circled this mountain long enough. Now turn north,

I have been circling this mountain for quite some time and even spinning my wheels in some spots, but it is time to turn north, move forward, and accomplish something.

I'm struggling a bit with organization, though.  I have a few ideas for some subjects that I feel are important and timely for the church.  I have mind-mapped them and created outlines, now I just need to get busy and work through some of the chapter issues. I also have several ideas for children's books, fiction, but based on real-life and with a moral to each story. I am stuck, though, on what age group to direct them towards.  I tend to be pretty wordy which lends itself more towards upper elementary ages, but I also want to be able to share them with my toddler and preschool aged grandchildren.

I need to just sit down and attempt both and sit which is the better fit.

I am so thankful for the gentle "whacking" the Lord has given me in recent days, reminding me that I am His and that He has a purpose for me and will use all that I am in order to achieve that purpose!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Confidence Part 2

In pondering why I feel as though I have allowed my confidence, both in the Lord and in myself, to slip away, I realized that it is not just the world that has wreaked havoc on my confidence, but, sadly, the church plays a role, as well.

We, personally, have experienced some judgmentalism in recent years that we did not expect from our church of over 20 years.  We have received it from people who have known us (or one or the other of us) all our lives.  It really took us by surprise and set us back a bit, even though until just recently, we couldn't really put our finger on why or what exactly we were feeling.

When I first accepted the gift that the Messiah was giving me, salvation and forgiveness for my sins, I went through an intense period of dealing with my sinful past.  I was divorced and remarried.  So was my husband.  I prayed and struggled and wrestled with God over the issue.  However, those around kept reminding me that I was a new creation and that there was now no longer any condemnation for me, I was in Christ Jesus.  When God looked at me, He saw me covered with the atoning Blood of the Messiah!  My past was gone.  I was forgiven.  It was time to fill the role that I was created for.  Even with other's words, I needed confirmation for myself.  One afternoon, as I was reading and struggling with this issue again, I read this passage...

1Co 7:20-24 Only, as the Lord has assigned to each one, as God has called each, in this manner let him walk. And so I direct in all the churches. Was any man called when he was already circumcised? He is not to become uncircumcised. Has anyone been called in uncircumcision? He is not to be circumcised. Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but what matters is the keeping of the commandments of God. Each man must remain in that condition in which he was called.
 Were you called while a slave? Do not worry about it; but if you are able also to become free, rather do that. For he who was called in the Lord while a slave, is the Lord's freedman; likewise he who was called while free, is Christ's slave. You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of men. Brethren, each one is to remain with God in that condition in which he was called.

While God had knocked on my door many times over the course of those first 29 years of my life, His calling came fully to me 5 years after I had been divorced and remarried.  I was to remain in the place I was when He called me!  I received much peace from this passage and continue to to this day.

Sadly, though, it has become a divisive issue for our church.  Three years ago our church went through a challenging transition and in some ways it brought us all closer together, but as we brought on a new pastor and a new board, a few things began to change.  The board and other members of the congregation wanted to keep divorced men off of the administrative board, citing Tit 1:6 namely, if any man is above reproach, the husband of one wife, having children who believe, not accused of dissipation or rebellion.

Instead of looking at each situation individually, there was just going to be a blanket statement that those that had been divorced could not serve on the board. After 20 years of going to the church and my husband having already served on the board, he was now disqualified because of sins committed prior to his acceptance of Christ.

Neither of us knew how to take this.  We were certainly not proud of the sins we had committed and we did not publicize them, but the majority of people knew, we thought.  We also thought that they had seen what Jesus had done in our lives and the complete transformation He had wrought in our lives.  Suddenly, we were seeing things differently.  That what we thought wasn't true, maybe never had been.  It shook my confidence to the core, and despite believing that God had truly and completely forgiven us and that according to Psalm 51:13, being forgiven brought with it the responsibility to "teach transgressors Your ways, and sinners shall be converted and return to You," I withdrew from a friendship and from any kind of teaching/leading (of women) role in the church.  I really felt that if they were disqualifying my husband, they were disqualifying me.

As time has gone on and the issue is yet to be resolved, we have really felt as though we have committed the one sin that can't really be forgiven and moved on from (aside from the one described as "the unpardonable sin" in Scripture). No one else in the church gets measured by their sins before they came to Christ.  No one.  Only those that have been divorced.

I totally agree and believe that if someone chooses divorce, other than for adultery or abuse, after salvation, there are and should be consequences and they may not be limited to the type of service one can be a part of in the church, but each situation should be handled individually and Biblically!

We live with the consequences of our sin to this day and we will until we reach Heaven, but our church use to be a safe place where we could rest in knowing that we were forgiven and that it was left long behind and we could be a part of something.  We no longer feel a part of our church.  We feel singled out and after 28 years of marriage, through all the ups and downs, we have shown ourselves faithful to these vows and the understanding of what a covenant is, we feel condemned once again.

Despite this struggle, I keep being reminded that I am a new creation, the old has gone, the new has come!  There is no condemnation for me or my husband (consequences, yes, condemnation, no!). So, I'm putting aside the lack of confidence!  It is time to hit it all head on.  Bible studies are back on.  Writing is back on.

I have been forgiven!  No one can take that away from me!

Psa 103:12 As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.

Mic 7:18-19 Who is a God like You, Who forgives iniquity and passes over the transgression of the remnant of His heritage? He retains not His anger forever, because He delights in mercy and loving- kindness.
 He will again have compassion on us; He will subdue and tread underfoot our iniquities. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea.

Gone! Gone! Gone!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015


I have allowed others and the world to tear down my confidence.  I have spent too much time in the "company" (I use quotes because it has all been online) of progressives and liberals who have such a distaste and, in some cases, a hatred for God that they can't see beyond the ends of their own noses.  They continually use the same tired arguments, regurgitated for the umpteenth time over the same conversations--abortion, homosexuality, all the new gender terms (I can't even keep up with those!), creation, and racism, just to name the majority of issues.  They do not listen.  They do not reason.  They do not critically think. They do not even correctly use the science that they so vehemently hold up as god-like. Although, they will tell you over and over and over, ad nauseam that they do and that you are the one who does not listen, reason, or think critically.  In filling myself with this stuff on an almost daily basis, I realized that my confidence, in my God, and in myself, has shrunk exponentially.
Mat 12:34-37 You brood of vipers, how can you, being evil, speak what is good? For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart. The good man brings out of his good treasure what is good; and the evil man brings out of his evil treasure what is evil. But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned."

I realized that by spending so much time listening to their evil words (and, yes, the blaspheming has been extremely bad lately, as well as the attacks on my person, my abilities, and my motivations), I was very quickly losing my confidence in what I could do for and through my God.  No matter how much I want to see them find the Messiah, there simply comes a time when it is doing more harm than good to be there.

Mat 7:6 " Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.

I have been getting torn to pieces.  I have allowed what is holy to be trampled on because I felt the need to keep arguing and in so doing, I've almost lost what it is I believe God has for me.

I am not a stupid person.  I am a well read, well informed person.  I don't spend hour upon hour reading scientific journals or statistics on, well, anything, but I do study people and I study God's Word. In the end, these are the only things that will matter.  Knowing and applying God's Word, which leads to right relationships with God and with people.

Since the time of my accepting God's gift of salvation, my heart has been for God's Word and for people.  I want to know God's Word, live it, and help others to understand and apply it.  I am an exhorter, but I have been exhorting the wrong people.  I'm not saying that there isn't a time for evangelism and sharing God's Word with unbelievers, but, for me, that is not my main focus.  I believe that my gifts lie in discipling believers, helping them to grow and mature in their faith.

As I was reading 1 Kings 19 last week, this verse stuck out at me...

1Ki 19:14 Then he said, " I have been very zealous for the Lord, the God of hosts; for the sons of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars and killed Your prophets with the sword. And I alone am left; and they seek my life, to take it away."

Elijah was zealous for the Israelites.  The fact that they had turned from God and His ways made Elijah distraught. He felt alone and he was in fear for his life.  (God, later in the passage, does comfort him with His presence and the fact that He had a remnant being prepared.)

I have allowed myself to lose my zealousness for those in the Church.  I have allowed myself to become consumed with trying to change the culture from the outside of the Church rather than from the inside.  I have allowed my confidence to slip away because of the accusations and lies of the enemy. I, in many ways, have become distraught over the state of our country and our world.  Distraught over the blatant sin and the outright mocking of God. Distraught over the lack of discipleship and the Churches seeming inability to come against the upfront displays of rebellion and lasciviousness.

It is time to turn the page.  It is time to remember where my confidence comes from...

Psa 71:1-8 PSALM 71
Prayer of an Old Man for Deliverance.
 In You, O Lord, I have taken refuge;
Let me never be ashamed.
 In Your righteousness deliver me and rescue me;
 Incline Your ear to me and save me.
 Be to me a rock of habitation to which I may continually come;
You have given commandment to save me,
For You are my rock and my fortress.
 Rescue me, O my God, out of the hand of the wicked,
Out of the grasp of the wrongdoer and ruthless man,
 For You are my hope;
O Lord God, You are my confidence from my youth.
 By You I have been sustained from my birth;
You are He who took me from my mother's womb;
My praise is continually of You.
 I have become a marvel to many,
For You are my strong refuge.
 My mouth is filled with Your praise
And with Your glory all day long.

Psa 78:7 That they should put their confidence in God
And not forget the works of God,

But keep His commandments,

Pro 3:26 For the Lord will be your confidence
And will keep your foot from being caught.

Pro 14:26 In the fear of the Lord there is strong confidence,

And his children will have refuge.

My confidence comes from the Lord and it is time to restore it and move forward.  He has gifted with me with specific gifts and it is time to drown out the voices of negativity.  It is time to drown out the "you can'ts" and "no one cares".  It is time to focus on the Church and the path it seems to be headed.

It is time!