The Undoing

Onion.

Romans 8:1-2 (NLT) So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.

I seldom use onions in recipes but when I do I handle them with care. Peeling off the paper-like covering, to reveal the pearly white surface releases the distinct odor of the onion. However, once you cut into it – the onion fights back as oils are released into the air that irritate our eyes producing seemingly endless tears. A trick to eliminate the tears is to cut the onion under running water. This causes the oils to be rinsed away and keep them from reaching the tear duct. Fancy trick I learned from my grandmother. You can learn a lot from grown folks. You can learn a lot about life in Christ from an onion, too.

Salvation is only the beginning of discovering our newfound freedom in Christ. Redemption is to take full advantage of the gift given to us by the Grace of God through His Son, Jesus Christ. Christianity and the pursuit of Christ also will produce many tears in our life. As the Lord peels back the layers of sin, shame, regret, guilt and stinking thinking, the aroma and stench of death leaving us to make room for new life, new hope, and new freedom causes tears to be released. Our life is going to produce an aroma of some kind. Will it be a fragrant sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving while claiming God’s Gift or will it be the continued stench of rotting flesh taking over again? It really is up to you and me what kind of life that is produced after coming to Jesus inviting Him to be our Savior. It is in His Lordship that a whole new existence is possible free from the chains, bondage and slavery of this life to claim freedom.

John 8:36 (NLT) So if the Son set you free – you are truly free.

Do you feel free today? Are you singing a freedom song? There is no condemnation in Jesus Christ so who the Son sets free is free indeed. The word condemnation means to pronounce guilt. It is an unfavorable or adverse judgment. It means to pronounce unfit for use or service. To force. It is to declare incurable. None of these qualities exist in the character of Christ concerning you. He is intent on freeing you from every thought, suspicion or notion that you are bound, hindered or restricted in any way, shape or form. He says that you are free…completely free…totally free. You are free to win. Free to live. Free to prosper. Free to grow. Free to love. You have absolute and complete freedom in Jesus Christ. You own Him nothing. He gave you everything. So why the long face and heavy heart today?

Christians do not experience freedom because they cannot accept the free gift of God’s Grace completely. There must be a catch. So like a prisoner who has been imprisoned far too long, the door is unlocked but they will not reach out their weary, tired, oppressed and fearful arm to open it and walk out. Jesus has set you free today. Free from sin, worry, despair, self-loathing, religion, and more You are free indeed to do as you please with this new life you have been given. What will you use your freedom for today?

Life is like an onion covered in many layers. I am like an onion who as I have grown older in life taken on many layers that do not necessarily belong to me in Jesus Christ. I wear them proudly and hold them tightly. When the Lord comes to make something beautiful out of my life, I refuse to let go of the known to take a faithful chance on the future. What lies just beneath the surface of me that He is trying to get to? We do not like brokenness and fear the cut of pruning. It produces many tears in our life. But I know a trick that I want to share with you (again) that my grandmother shared with me…you gotta run it under the water!

Romans 8:26-30 (NLT) And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will. And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And having chosen them, he called them to come to him. And having called them, he gave them right standing with himself. And having given them right standing, he gave them his glory.

The Holy Spirit is our partner when it comes to attaining the freedom offered in Jesus Christ. We need His Help. This is way too complex and comprehensive for my finite thinking and limitations of the human mind. I need His Wisdom and Guidance to wash over me and renew me as I endure the process of change from death to new life. As the Word cuts to the core of my heart, pruning out sin, eradicating the flesh that keeps me from growing, it is His Spirit that washes my wounds, heals my heart, nourishes my soul and nurtures my growth. The Holy Spirit is water the water that keeps me in those times when I don’t feel free or try to shut myself up captive in fear, doubt and worry again.

The Holy Spirit takes God’s Word and waters me with it. My family is not too big on raw onions. So often when I cook, I use the dried minced onions from the spice aisle instead. This is very convenient but not as flavorful. It lends some of the taste to a recipe but not the full flavor of a freshly cut onion. Now if you take a raw onion and cook it, something changes. The flavor changes and becomes sweeter as the texture softens. This takes longer than just grabbing an onion and cutting it up. We give food time to cook but refuse to give any credence to God’s Timing and Preparation when it comes to us. The onion is only one ingredient in the recipe. Brokenness is only a part of the process. With patience and time, the onion is going to work with all the other flavors to produce a delicious dinner.

God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His Purpose. His Purpose. His Recipe. His Design. This means that you are only seeing a small part of a huge picture. You are in a single step of a perfect process. Do not judge your future or forever by the tough situation, hard time or heart break you are going through right now. It is part of a beautiful masterpiece that the Lord has designed your life to be. “But whenever someone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. For the Lord is the Spirit and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. So all of us who have had the veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord – who is the Spirit – makes us more and more like Him as we are changed into His Glorious Image.” (2 Cor. 3:16-18)

Colossians 3:10-14 (NLT) Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him. In this new life, it doesn’t matter if you are a Jew or a Gentile, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbaric, uncivilized, slave, or free. Christ is all that matters, and he lives in all of us. Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony.

There is no condemnation in Jesus Christ. Any part of our life lived in bondage is not of God or His Son or His Spirit. Sin doesn’t condemn us anymore. Sin happens so repentance is given so grace may be applied. Those who love the Lord will try not to sin. Love is the best motivator for repentance. Change comes more easily surrounded in purpose. It is my passion and pursuit to live in the Kingdom of God. I live in Florida. If I get in my car intent on traveling to Canada, I must go north. If I go south, I will fall into the ocean. If I go east or west the same thing will happen. My vehicle is faith. Faith is the title deed to hope that is the Kingdom of God. I must head in that direction if it is my chosen destination. With that being said, religion often adds extra layers of “things” I must do and rules to follow. My relationship with Jesus Christ is not dependent on religion or anything or anyone else. My relationship is intimate and personal. I am committed to Jesus Christ so I strive to be close to Him. To come closer means certain layers of my life have to go. Those things can hurt and produce many tears but it is full assumption of my freedom to undergo the transformation. Beauty is pain. I believe it. Letting go of how life defines me to grab hold of my destiny.

True freedom is to fully assume your new nature. To be renewed body, mind and spirit to become like Christ. It doesn’t matter what religion you belong to because it is all about our relationship with Jesus that matters. God chose to love me. It is my privilege to remove the layers of life and take on the splendor of His Kingdom. To be clothed in tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. To form strong bonds and build relationships with my brothers and sisters. To forgive and off the grace that I have so generously been given. To love and love some more. The freedom that I have is found in His Love. As I discover just how “wide, long, high and deep” His Love really is, it is then that I am able to see just how free I really am.

It is hard to remember in the midst of hurt, hardship and trials that our life is part of something bigger than what we see, know and experience every day. It is also difficult to fully understand and therefore accept that God’s Love is completely unconditional and His Grace never ending. It is with this in mind that I am reminded today I am free. I have been freed from sin, shame, guilt, and every other kind of bondage that exists in the world today. I am a soul set free in the One I love. I am destined to be part of something much bigger. To fulfill my position will be my complete undoing as God peels back the layers that keep me from fulfillment and becoming exactly who He created me to be. Brokenness will come. Tears will fall. It will be my undoing. But it will be worth it – it will be worth it all!

Ephesians 3:17-19 (NLT) Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.

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Wash Rinse Repeat

wash-rinse-and-repeat

James 4:7-10 (NLT) So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world. Let there be tears for what you have done. Let there be sorrow and deep grief. Let there be sadness instead of laughter, and gloom instead of joy. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor.

My sweet sister is an esthetician. She is a skincare specialist. During her visit to care for mom during her open heart surgery, there were endless hours of conversation in the waiting room during our more than 24 hours stay the first night. Please disregard any and all Dubsmash videos that may or may not have been posted – it was a very long night. My sister’s skin is perfection. Given her profession, she has a routine of care that has made her completion nearly flawless. She promised to send a box of products for our teenage girls who battle the usual adolescent skin issues. The box arrived yesterday as promised. Late last night my phone received a series of text messages with instructions for all of us regarding the products that she sent. As I read through them this morning, I found that none of the bottles contain any medicine but rather it is all about the proper cleaning. This is definitely intriguing to me.

Wash, rinse and repeat with a once-a-week special treatment. Anyone who knows me knows this is bound to strike a connection with my spirit and surely it did. Sometimes I think we over complicate the process of spiritual freedom by making about more than it really is. I am set free by the Grace of God offered freely through Jesus Christ. The products my sister sent to us are expensive. Probably a higher price than I would pay since I balk at the skin products at Walmart. She must be so ashamed. However, do I also take for granted the simple process of repentance, renewal and restoration offered to me day by day by my Lord? It begins with humility. At first, I asked her not to send at her expense. She insisted. I offered to pay her for the items which she generously declined. Jesus offers to cleanse my heart and mind each day. The gift already given yet I leave it in a box on the counter of my soul much like the box of products not yet applied. He wants to renew me each day so that I may be restored and find joy in my salvation yet I choose to remain guilty, dirty, stained, and full of regret somehow. Am I the only one? Do I carry a burden of sin that could be so freely given in exchange for more freedom than I have ever known? Do I have stains covering a radiant countenance of righteousness freely given but not used for anything in each day? It is time to learn a new soulful routine. It is simple – wash, rinse, renew and restore. I need to do this each and every day to make my soul secure and my Light shine to a world looking for love in all the wrong places. I have it. It is at my disposal. I just need to use it.

Humble yourselves before God. This thing called “humility” is a lifelong endeavor that is produced through our relationship with Jesus Christ. It is promoted with each encounter and experience offered in the Presence of God. You cannot enter His Presence and remain the same. He changes us day by day. He frees us from sin, guilt, shame and regret to renew and restore the life that God planned for us to have not the one poor choices delivered. You cannot resist the devil covered in sin. You cannot tell him to flee or make any other authoritative directive to the enemy without the Power of God at work inside of you. The Power of God that gives us strength is His Grace. It cannot be usurped in our own strength and power but humbly accepted as it cannot be earned in any way. To come close to God and live in His Presence begins with repentance. Repentance is a continual process of exchanging sin for salvation each day. This process cannot change for if it does our loyalty is divided between God and this world. No such division will withstand the process called judgment.

Psalm 51:1-4 (NLT) Have mercy on me, O God, because of your unfailing love. Because of your great compassion, blot out the stain of my sins. Wash me clean from my guilt. Purify me from my sin. For I recognize my rebellion; it haunts me day and night. Against you, and you alone, have I sinned; I have done what is evil in your sight. You will be proved right in what you say, and your judgment against me is just.

I recently posted the lyrics to the song “Brokenness Aside”. It begins “I am a sinner if its not one thing its another. Caught up in words, tangled in lies.” It’s funny because I could feel the buzz of people wondering what I had “done” or how far I had “fallen”. The truth is that I am a sinner every single day. I am almost willing to bet that you are, too. I am aware of it and try to continually repent as not to become weighted down with transgressions. His Mercy is because of His Unfailing Love so no matter what I do I can come to the Lord and request cleansing. The Lord does it. Right there. On the spot. Whatever I submit to repentance, Jesus washes away as far as the east from the west. However, just as if I were to put a toy sailboat in the current of a river holding it tightly it will not float away – my sin cannot go away from me if I do not let it go.

We hold sin in our life two ways. First, we do not repent. Continuing to engage in it, calling it weakness, attempting to cover it up in grace, there is no freedom from it as it plagues us night and day. The second way to hold on to sin is regret. The same God that removes our sin renews our life in the process if allowed to. God is a gentleman. He doesn’t force us to accept anything that He has to offer.

With three daughters, the skin issue has come up many times. All three girls have a different skin type which requires a variety of skin regimes. However, there is one thing that works for all three. I have instructed them to wash their faces in the morning and evening. After school, they should remove makeup and rinse the impurities picked up that day. They have all balked at me until they tried it and found that their skin cleared up. Women use makeup to cover imperfections. However, that is not what we need as believers. Don’t cover up sin. Let it go. Let the Lord remove it and send it away as far as the east is from the west. It doesn’t matter what other people think if you choose to crawl to the altar in every service. So what? You didn’t sin against them. It is God alone we live to please and Jesus who died for us and now we live for.

Psalm 51:7-9 (NLT) Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. Oh, give me back my joy again; you have broken me—now let me rejoice. Don’t keep looking at my sins. Remove the stain of my guilt.

Purify me from my sins and I will be clean. Salvation is a process. It is not just one prayer one time at an altar but daily acceptance of Jesus Christ, His Word, His Will and His Way. We must work on it. Daily surrendering ourselves to Jesus. But unfortunately here is what happens. We wear one face for the world and another when alone at home and no one is watching. There are times when like the Pharisees, it is easy to become enthralled with what we can “do” for the Lord rather than allowing Him to do what He would like to “do” in me. Pride takes over holding on to sin rather than relinquishing it to the Cross. Repentance admits weakness. Our flesh isn’t comfortable with such a thing.

There is no true joy outside of salvation but to fully accept the terms and conditions of the New Covenant means to lay one’s life down at the Cross each day. In John 13, Jesus was preparing to wash the feet of His Disciples. He knew the end was near. The Lord also knew that He had been given full power and authority by God His Father. Symbolically, he removed his robe and knelt to wash their feet. When Jesus made his way to Peter, you have to know he would raise a ruckus. He did true to form saying, “you will never wash my feet.” Jesus said, “Unless I wash your feet, you do not belong to me.” There is no personal pride or accomplishment in our salvation. Jesus did it all. He paid for our life in full. There is nothing else for me to do other than accept it. When I try to maintain my pride and take hold of His Grace, I find this to be impossible.

Of course, during this discourse, Peter the extremist tells the Lord well if you are going to wash me – wash me from head to foot. Salvation cleanses us from head to toe. We work to maintain it by daily cleansing called repentance and humility. Those who do will be renewed day by day. Life will rise up in the places left void of sin as God does a new thing in each surrendered space of our heart and mind yielded to Him. His Word sheds light on the dark places. He speaks softly to us to come closer and let Him get that smudge off our face and stain out of our clothing. God is meticulous in His Care for us and will wash us as many times as it takes until each area is fully surrendered to His Unfailing Love and Amazing Grace. You will never not be a sinner. Full redemption comes when we meet Him face-to-face. Be washed in His Presence daily. Cleansed by His Word.

Psalm 51:12-15 (NLT) Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and make me willing to obey you. Then I will teach your ways to rebels, and they will return to you. Forgive me for shedding blood, O God who saves; then I will joyfully sing of your forgiveness. Unseal my lips, O Lord, that my mouth may praise you.

My daughter was frustrated about her complexion one day. I asked her if she was washing her face regularly. She promised she had. I asked her if she had taken the prescribed medication. She again promised that she had. Now I am the “drug dealer” in our home who orders and usually picks up pharmaceutical orders for the crew. I know that I had not refilled her antibiotic in quite some time so I inquired further. How long have you been doing this? She admitted a couple of days. Well, of course. The Word of God tells us that He will restore us. Come on God. However, there is a second part that we are not so excited about…”make me willing to obey you.” Oh that part…

We must allow God time to restore us and commit our lives to the process called restoration. This means waiting, patience, persistence, faithfulness and commitment. We must continue to do what we know to do even when we cannot see the results. This my friend is faith. If I believe, the Lord is working to restore me and renew me I must remain faithful to the process which is what we call endurance. But God is even more faithful and does not make us wait or work out our salvation alone…

Titus 3:4-7 (NLT) But—when God our Savior revealed his kindness and love, he saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit. He generously poured out the Spirit upon us through Jesus Christ our Savior. Because of his grace he made us right in his sight and gave us confidence that we will inherit eternal life.

I love it when God “buts” in don’t you. God our Savior is full of kindness and love. He is mercy full! He washed away our sin. Gave us a new birth so we could live a new life. Jesus gave us a partner, advocate, guide, protector, defender, teacher, instructor… I could go on and on. The Lord gave us His Spirit. His Grace made us right in His Sight. We can have full confidence that every dead dream can come back to life. Old things will become new things. Dead ends are of no use because the Waymaker lives in us. Nothing wasted. We have nothing to lose but everything to gain as Jesus makes good of every detail of our life. We just have to remain in right standing. He did that, too. But God.

Psalm 51:16-17 (NLT) You do not desire a sacrifice, or I would offer one. You do not want a burnt offering. The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit. You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God.

Repetition can become religion without true repentance and daily surrender of our life to Christ in all humility. We can become indignant like Peter to our own detriment. Lord, I am going to serve You. Not the other way around… Pride can sound so holy. It can make its point about being right but righteousness is only found when we surrender and submit our life to Jesus Christ – humbly accepting His Gift of Life day after day. We cannot sacrifice anything of worth. We cannot do anything to earn this wonderful gift that we are given. All we can do is wash, rinse and repeat day after day until He comes.

John 9 tells the story of a man who was blind from birth. Jesus takes some dirt off the ground, spits in it, smears it on his eyes, and then tells him to go wash it off. He does. The man is instantly healed. Yay God right! No not so fast. This begins a series of interrogations of the man, his family and bystanders who witnessed it. Jesus healed the man on the Sabbath. Well, as you can well imagine this drew the attention of the Pharisees who were already sick and tired of this man named Jesus messing everything up. Surely the Messiah would obey the rules and regulations of religion.

Reading this story again, I have come to the conclusion that maybe there is purpose in the mud covering the man’s eyes. I wonder if our natural and spiritual condition is easier to heal then the “muddy messes” of this life. We overcomplicate the process making salvation way too hard. When asked about his healing for the umpteenth time, the man said, “I know this: I was blind, and now I can see!” Have we overcomplicated the process stopping the next great move of God? Could it be so simple? Maybe it is as easy as “then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14) These are God’s Words to Solomon after he completed the temple. Our temple is complete in Jesus Christ maybe these are the words resonating from Heaven today. If my people…

I John 1:8-10 (NLT) If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his word has no place in our hearts.

I am a sinner. I sin every day. If I told you or implied differently not only am I a liar, but I am calling God a liar. If I choose to coat my life with good works, good deeds, good words, and the like it is not the truth or the Gospel. It is not my job to set the standard of life and love for the rest of the world. God set the standard and it is glorious. It says that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us. He then gave us this wonderful benefit package to open and enjoy as we continue to journey to forever through this life. I must engage in the process which begins with humbling my life at His Feet every single day and accepting the Grace that is given. New mercy meets me each morning. Will I scoop it up and use it throughout the day? Or will the mud of pride, doubt, fear and anxiety cause me to lose my way? God wants to do a mighty work in us. We are His Temple. He wants to fill us with more of His Presence day by day. Repentance gives way to restoration which makes way for renewal which is how we live in true freedom day by day. Our life is raised to His Glorious Standard each day we say, “Forgive me, Lord. Your Grace is enough for me.” Sin is a burden. It renders us powerless to fight the enemy. It keeps us in bondage. Jesus says, “Come to me all who are burdened.” It is an open invitation to wash, rinse and repeat every day! I speak freedom over your life today in Jesus Name!

Matthew 11:28-30 (NLT)  Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”

Get Over It – A Devotion

Get Over It

Hebrews 10:21-23 (NLT)

And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God’s house, let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water. Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise.

 

Guilt is a horrible prison that restricts the flow of God’s Grace in our life. Yet time after time, it seems to creep up in the things that we do, the words we say and how we feel. I know I struggle with “mommy” guilt quite often when I feel that I do not adequately meet the needs of our five children. This may seem ridiculous to you as three of them are grown adults but the young mother struggling to meet the need of her growing family may identify with the same emotions. We want to do all the right things. We want to be present for everything. We try to listen to every word. Meet every possible need while anticipating the next one before it is uttered. I have paid a great deal of attention to our second son for obvious reasons over the last few years. Returning home from his recent transplant, I fell headlong into wedding planning for our oldest daughter. My heart is sad that I feel as though I missed her final years at home. The enemy pounces on that telling me terrible things that make the guilt feel overwhelming. I look at our younger daughters. When we began battling cancer, they were so small and now they are both growing into young women. How did it happen so fast? How did I miss it? Why do I feel so guilty? Maybe you are struggling with other kinds of guilt about things that you can control or even those uncontrollable things in your life? I completely understand. I have decided that the enemy uses guilt as a weapon to destroy the connection we have with the Lord. He wants to eliminate God’s Power in our life by stifling His Grace. Can the enemy stop the Grace of God from flowing through our life? Absolutely not! However, we can by believing that there is any need for guilt or shame now that we know Jesus Christ. As believers, guilt and shame are washed away. The void is to be filled with joy and peace. It is time to build a bridge and get over it.

Psalm 103:11-13 (NLT)

For his unfailing love toward those who fear Him is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth. He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west. The Lord is like a father to his children, tender and compassionate to those who fear him.

 

God’s Unfailing Love for us was demonstrated in the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus. His Love for us is far greater than human comprehension which is why we must rely on the Spirit and Truth to ever begin to understand and fathom the potential of His Love. He has removed our sins as far as the east is from the west. In the Eyes of God, we no longer are sinners which means we are not guilty. When God looks at us He sees Jesus and knows that we are no longer following our old nature but have surrendered our life to the Light of His Love. Jesus did not come to condemn the world which would make us guilty but through Him we might be saved. (John 3:16-17) Again, it was all because of love. Transgressions and trespasses produce anger. Forgiveness produces love. The overwhelming guilt of all of mankind would not allow for a quick cover-up. (Romans 3:19-23) Everyone has sinned and fallen short of God’s Glorious Standard. But God’s Unfailing Love and Tender Compassion cried out for reconciliation. His Sovereignty required perfection. The guilty could not make it to Him. Only those who were not guilty could become righteous again.

Proverbs 14:9 (NLT)

Fools make fun of guilt, but the godly acknowledge it and seek reconciliation.

 

As the parent of five children, I have many different personalities to contend with. With all these individuals that the Lord has given me to mold and shape each has required their own custom made plan of instruction and discipline along the way. I have a particular child who will remain unnamed who would rather be tortured than apologize. For example, if this person accidentally steps on your foot an apology will not be extended because they did not mean to do it. If it is unintentional, they do not feel it is owed to the other person because they did not mean to do it. I have tried over and over to explain that it doesn’t matter if you meant to do it or not what matters is the other person’s feelings about it. Our entire household is filled with jokesters. There are times when we must draw a line between good-natured ribbings before it becomes an offense. “Well, I was only joking.” Yes, I understand. The moment that joke hurt the other person’s feelings it is not funny anymore. God gave us His Word to show us the many times that we fall short of His Glory so that we will understand the sin that separates us from Him. It is not a source of guilt but a guide to His Glory for those who decide to exchange their shame for salvation and guilt for His Glory.

Psalm 19:12-14 (NLT)
How can I know all the sins lurking in my heart? Cleanse me from these hidden faults. Keep your servant from deliberate sins! Don’t let them control me. Then I will be free of guilt and innocent of great sin. May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.

 

Grace reconciles us to God. Guilt removes our right standing with Him. Why? It is an act of disbelief. To live in guilt is to acknowledge that there is one sin left uncovered by the Blood of Jesus which makes us subject to the Law again. Some people live in guilt and shame long after confessing Jesus is Lord because they do not believe. Religion says we have to do something to change our life. All that God is after is a reconciled relationship with us. He didn’t say that we have to follow the Letter of the Law. He didn’t tell us that we have to feel guilty when we do not measure up to His Glorious Standard. He just said work out your salvation with fear and trembling which equates to “build a bridge and get over your sin” rather than fishing off it every day because your pride won’t let it go. Forget perfection. Just seek prosperity that begins in our soul. The Holy Spirit will cleanse our hidden faults if our heart is surrendered to Jesus. He will make sure that they no longer control our mind, will and emotions so our intentions are pure. When the words of our mouth and meditation of our heart are focused on Jesus, we will not be caught up in our guilt. It is impossible. He took our sins away.

Psalm 38:4 (NLT) My guilt overwhelms me—it is a burden too heavy to bear.

Is guilt overwhelming you today? Perhaps you are thinking but you don’t know what I did. You are right. But I know all the many things that I have done wrong, yet I still dare hope. His Mercy met me this morning and the Lord said, “Let it go! You are doing just fine! Keep wading in my Grace, Mercy and Love. You will get there.” I think He might be telling you the same thing. There are those who tread on the Grace of God living in sin and then pointing to a Savior obviously not worth surrendering one’s life to or serving day by day. They are disillusioned. The Grace of God is reserved for those who love Jesus. Those who desire to serve Him daily and try to do so. Not those who mock guilt by celebrating their sin. When I fall short of God’s Standard, or miss the mark, I feel overwhelming guilt that is washed away by amazing grace. Grace is not an excuse not to try but gives us the opportunity to successfully live in the Presence of our God!

Psalm 32:1-2 (NLT)

Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven, whose sin is put out of sight! Yes, what joy for those whose record the Lord has cleared of guilt, whose lives are lived in complete honesty!

 

Yesterday I felt like a failure, today I felt guilty about it. What next. Joy and peace are on the verge of my heart beginning to flood my weary soul. His Grace is all that I need. His Grace has proven its sufficiency in my life so today I choose to let go of guilt and shame allowing it to float away with my sin as far as the east is from the west. I watch from the Bridge called Grace as it flows beneath me into a vast of ocean of God’s Loving Kindness and His Faithfulness. My disobedience though not deliberate produced doubt that has now washed away and so His Joy is beginning to overtake me. I am transparent in this process. Too often Christians do not live in complete honesty, because honestly their life is a mess. I think that is sad because other people cannot meet them where they are. The “disconnect” created has divided the Body of Christ. Everyone has fallen short of the Glorious Standard of God. Get over yourself. You are going to fail and fall short sometimes. Get over it. If you are not living in complete honesty, people are led astray by the façade of perfection that you have created behind a manmade wall. The ugly truth is better than any painted picture. When the storm comes, all is washed away and the only thing that remains is faith, hope and love. Without the Love of God, it is impossible to have faith in our life that carries us through the wind and rain. If disobedience has been forgiven then our guilt is removed and we will have overwhelming and inexpressible joy. If our record has been cleared by the Grace of God, then it is our privilege to tell others what the Lord has done for us. To live a life of fake perfection creates temporary relationships that will fall apart when truth is discovered, but to live transparently before God and mankind will lead to reconciliation. Grace allows us to live an open and honest life before the Lord and other people.

Psalm 51:7-12 (NLT)

Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. Oh, give me back my joy again; you have broken me—now let me rejoice. Don’t keep looking at my sins. Remove the stain of my guilt. Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a loyal spirit within me. Do not banish me from your presence, and don’t take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and make me willing to obey you.

 

I have wonderful news for you today! You are not guilty anymore. You have been set free. There is no penalty for missing God’s Mark now you are called to win. You do not have to live in shame any longer. Release it today. Let it go. Drop in the overflowing grace of God and watch it race away with the current of mercy and love that flows through our life as believers. Now let the Holy Spirit get to work by surrendering your heart, your day, your life to Him moment by moment and step by step. He will work out your salvation and knit you in close relationship with God the Father through care-full obedience. Suddenly, your heart will burst with joy in your salvation and it will overflow from your belly like living water and shoot out of your mouth as praise. See God is working in us and through us so we don’t have to build a bridge – Jesus did and He called it – Grace. Now we just have to walk in it and to get over all guilt and shame!

Psalm 51:16-17 (NLT)

You do not desire a sacrifice, or I would offer one. You do not want a burnt offering. The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit. You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God.

 

Blame Game – A Devotion

2 Corinthians 5:15-17 (NLT)

He died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them. So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know him now! This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!

 

Welcome to your brand new life in Jesus Christ! Your old life is gone. Have you left it behind you? Is the past the past or is it being drug into your future? You are called to be a new creation thanks to the Precious Blood of Jesus Christ and His Grace covering your life. How is it working out for you? You are supposed to have a new life by inviting Jesus Christ to be Lord of your life. However, when we choose to remain in the past and attached to such things, it drags us out of our new life into the old one once again. How does this happen? It is called the blame game. It is the moment when human logic and justification attempt to validate humanity and find something good in a creature that is doomed. There is nothing good in us outside of Jesus Christ. Sin destroyed all that was good in people when evil was discovered. So now rather than giving Jesus Christ full responsibility in transforming us from death to life, we create excuses to remain in our old life but still want the Blessing of God to prevail. We desire God’s Promises but we want it our way to benefit our old existence rather than stepping into this brand new life outside of our comfort zone. So we simple attach ourselves to the past and attempt to drag it forward. Simple, we blame ourselves and others for our inability to trust the Lord with our life. The blame game is very dangerous because it will rob you of God’s Glory. We must stop evaluating our life from a human point of view and apply God’s Love and Grace to every aspect of living if we are giving the Lord full charge over our life including every situation and relationship it contains. Are you playing the blame game today?

 

Matthew 6:12-13 (NKJV)

And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.

 

Lord, forgive us our debts. No problem, this is an easily accepted principle in salvation. People gladly release the sin and shame that produces overwhelming guilt in their life to accept the free gift of salvation. Let’s face it who doesn’t like free stuff. God’s Favor is awesome. However, if we are to forgive “our debtors” as Jesus forgives us then it is safe to bet that there is a lot of forgiving to do in our natural life. Life is filled with hurts as a consequence of sin. When we seek forgiveness from God, not only are we asking to be released from the consequences of sin in our life, but we are to forgive others what they owe us. This is what delivers us from evil and changes death to life. God’s Kingdom is the power and glory of our life now so what happens here on the earth is inconsequential. That is unless you choose to remain as a citizen of the world rather than a resident of Heaven. Forgiveness is absolutely crucial to entering your new life in Jesus Christ and releasing this world from responsibility. If you hold the world responsible for repayment of the wrongs that you have encountered, you release God’s Kingdom from responsibility and nullify your covenant for the Most High God to fulfill and restore your life! The world’s economy is perishable, but God’s economy is eternal. Are you accepting temporary and superficial things rather than holding out for God’s Absolute Best? Do not compromise your covenant but transfer the debt of hurt, brokenness and defeat into restoration, fulfillment and victory by making God responsible for your life today!

 

I John 1:6-10 (NKJV)

If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.

 

Many times we blame others for our mistakes and shortcomings as a means of escaping responsibility for our life. You are responsible to live in the Light of God’s Love once you have discovered your new life. This means walking in the reality and truth that you have sinned and come short of the Glory of God. You are no better than anyone else and they are no better than you. We are all sinners saved by Amazing Grace. So it is important to know the Truth and let it set you free. We were created to live in fellowship with all of God’s People. The Blood of Jesus Christ is the only thing that cleanses us from sin and iniquity. God is not comparing His Children, what kind of parent would He be if He did? By confessing our sin to the Lord, (not other people) He is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins and cleanse us of all unrighteousness. The way to Heaven does not resemble a corporate ladder or dog-eat-dog world where we must claw and crawl over others to make it to Jesus. But the Lord has reserved a place of righteousness where we will humble ourselves as sinners and allow Jesus to transform us. Somehow Christians have decided that we are better than everyone else rather than the least of these. We take the Power of God for granted and decide that we have some control over our destiny! Where are you living today? If it is in your new life, then all responsibility has been shifted to God through Jesus Christ and you have become the least of these. People are not responsible for your sin. Through salvation, Jesus is! Stop blaming those who are not able to satisfy your debt and giving them power over your life. You cannot make room for yourself in the Kingdom of God – you are powerless. Jesus did it all!

 

Isaiah 6:1-7 (NLT)

It was in the year King Uzziah diedthat I saw the Lord. He was sitting on a lofty throne, and the train of his robe filled the Temple. Attending him were mighty seraphim, each having six wings. With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they flew. They were calling out to each other, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of Heaven’s Armies! The whole earth is filled with his glory!” Their voices shook the Temple to its foundations, and the entire building was filled with smoke. Then I said, “It’s all over! I am doomed, for I am a sinful man. I have filthy lips, and I live among a people with filthy lips. Yet I have seen the King, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.” Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a burning coal he had taken from the altar with a pair of tongs. He touched my lips with it and said, “See, this coal has touched your lips. Now your guilt is removed, and your sins are forgiven.

 

One encounter with the Lord will change your life. In His Presence, His Awesomeness overwhelms our being. Sin is revealed. We find ourselves guilty and unworthy! But in that moment of humility at the Throne of God’s Grace, He reaches out to us. Just as God sent an angel to cleanse the guilty lips of His Servant, Jesus will take away the guilt and shame of your past if you will let Him. We do not only blame others for our insufficiency but when we get to the heart of the matter, most people blame themselves. How can God accept us when we know EVERYTHING we have done? Our sins are before us like a continuous motion picture. Our minds relive such moments over and over again as the enemy of our soul invades our thoughts attempting to cheapen God’s Measure of Faith making it useless in our life. In the Presence of the Lord, your guilt is removed and sins are forgiven. Do not pick them back up including shame. The Lord has washed them all away! His Grace is sufficient for you all of you and everything that you have done and will do contrary to the Will and Nature of God! (2 Corinthians 12:9) It is enough to cover every single sin and wipe it clean. Do not think more highly of yourself to believe that there is anything you can do to make God stop loving you! It is impossible for God to lie or change His Mind! Just because you have changed your mind about God, does not mean that He feels any differently about you! Tell them enemy to “shut up” and accept the forgiveness of God for real this time. Do not let your old life keep you from your new one. It is gone and over. Your sins are paid in full. Walk in the freedom of forgiving you today! Stop blaming yourself for what happened yesterday and live in God’s Fulfillment today! Walk in love and forgiveness of others and you!

 

I Peter 4:12-16 (NKJV)

Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified. But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a busybody in other people’s matters. Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter.

 

What are you going through today that has stolen your joy and caused you to return to the past? Have you encountered a fiery trial which is to try you? Do you blame God? I wrestled with the Lord on this very subject in October of 2011 when I heard the words, “It is cancer!” In a public restroom, there was a battle for my mind! With a heart on the verge of breaking, I could hear Heaven and earth collide as I cried out to the Lord! Many will come to this place of reckoning in the midst of a tumultuous trial and be faced with the decision of whether to blame God or trust Him! It is the line between your past and future. What will you decide? Blaming God is the same as cursing. It is blasphemy of epic proportions that reject His Truth and accept the lie that God does not love you and is punishing you which nullifies the Power of the Blood! It is a place of rebellion. The only thing that will prevail in such a desperate situation is His Word and His Spirit. To be filled with both is the only way that you will survive the onslaught for your soul! In this place of vulnerability the enemy works hard to change your mind about the Lord and lead you back into the darkness! Do not go. It is a trap. Job struggled and one this battle despite the poor advice of His Friends – He trusted God alone. The Holy Spirit which is the Living God inside of you is advocating for each person right now, but when we decide that He is not good – it is the ultimate blasphemy. (Mark 3:28-30) Jesus died so His Spirit would be poured out in your life enabling you to remain righteous and live in the Presence of God! God is not punishing you. He may be testing you though to reveal any insufficiency of faith that is threatening to separate you from His Kingdom! God desires to live in love with you FOREVER! Temporary circumstances will reveal Eternal deficits allowing God’s People to maintain righteousness forever. God did not give my son cancer. Sin created this dreadful disease. God is working overtime to heal his body. The Blood of Jesus is securing His Soul forever so whether He is healed medically, miraculously or mercifully – He will be with Jesus forever. However, when we choose to blame the Lord for our struggles we remove the Power of God from our live as we curse Him. Do not curse God. Do not blame the Lord for your current situation! But thank the Lord that He is faithful and that all things are for His Glory and Your Good!

 

I Peter 1:3-6 (NLT)

All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation, and we have a priceless inheritance—an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay. And through your faith, God is protecting you by his power until you receive this salvation, which is ready to be revealed on the last day for all to see. So be truly glad.There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while.

 

Stop playing the blame game today! People are not your problem or responsibility so forgive them all and place all your expectation in Jesus who will never leave you or forsake you! He will never let you down! The Lord is always working out good things for His People. Do not blame yourself for all the wrongs of your past but claim righteousness for your future. Jesus is the only righteous thing in us. We must embrace our new life and let the Lord transform us into the new creation that He has promised. It is impossible for God to lie or change His Mind so you are safe to put all your trust in Him and quit counting on yourself. Faith is the only way to please God! So trust Him today! Finally, remember God is on your side. The test you are going through is only a test – you will be delivered simply by faith. God is not punishing you but rather preparing you to receive the blessing He has waiting for those who are righteous and remain faithful at all times. Don’t give the enemy or other people power over your life. You are powerless to save yourself. Dig into God’s Power of forgiveness and faith today! Say, “Blessed be the Name of the Lord” no matter what! The Blame Game turns into Blessed Potential by righteousness, obedience and faith with forgiveness that sets all debtors free placing all expectation on Jesus!

 

Colossians 2:6-10 (NLT)

And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him. Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness. Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powersof this world, rather than from Christ. For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body.So you also are complete through your union with Christ, who is the head over every ruler and authority.

I Am Over It – A Devotion

Romans 8:1-2 (NLT)

So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the powerthe life-giving Spirit has freed youfrom the power of sin that leads to death.

 

There is NO CONDEMNATION for those who belong to Jesus Christ. We are inhabitable temples of the Living God thanks to Jesus Christ, His Son, who made us righteous. So why do we remain in the midst of broken down and unproductive lives if God lives in us? Good question and for many who are merely existing rather than thriving in the Favor of God a major obstacle in obtaining the freedom offered by Jesus Christ through life in the Spirit. How does one move from constantly being confined by sin into the brand new life that Jesus Christ has offered? It sounds so easy but for anyone who has ever lived in one place for a long time and then attempted to relocate, it proves challenging. One must decide what to take and what to leave behind. It requires going through all the “stuff” in your life and tossing out the “junk”. The offenses of mankind against God are profound and evident once the Spirit of the Living God comes to live in our midst. Suddenly, those things that we thought to be part of life, routine and acceptable become a thorn in our flesh. We know we should leave them behind, but they have been a part of our existence for so long surely God would understand if we kept them a while longer. Offense builds a barrier between us and God’s Best for our life. It is high time that the Body of Christ and all of God’s People decided that rather than building a wall of offense around their life, they choose to build a bridge and get over it. You cannot get over it until you rise above it. It just makes sense. Instead of wallowing in the past and our own way, it is important to move to where God is. His Spirit is within you to assist in your transportation and transformation into the New Life and New Creation that God has called you to be. Will you decide to get over today and say, “I am over it?”

 

Romans 5:18-21 (NKJV)

Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous.Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more, so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

 

You will never get over the sin in your life until you understand that “where sin abounded, grace abounded much more.” Through the disobedience of Adam, generations of human beings were condemned by sin. BUT through Jesus Christ came the Grace of God which was more than sin. The word “abound” comes from the Latin word “abundare” which means “to overflow”. Sin infiltrated the heart of man but grace “overflowed” from the Heart of God for His People. His Grace can cover any and every sin that you have committed, are involved in or will ever be misled into. However, if the Grace of God is not viewed as sufficient for your life and used to overcome sin then you will remain buried in offense. What is offense? It is a violation or transgression whether done by us or against us, it has the ability to limit the opportunities that God has placed in our life creating a wall between us and the Goodness of God. Your sin is personal and cannot reach beyond your life unless passed from generation to generation through blood inheritance. The Grace of God is overflowing therefore it has the Power to end the conviction of death due to your transgression against God. Will you move from confinement to freedom? There is absolutely no condemnation for those who belong to Jesus Christ. If you feel condemned today, it is a lie of the enemy that only the TRUTH will reveal.

 

Galatians 2:17-20 (NLT)

But suppose we seek to be made right with God through faith in Christ and then we are found guilty because we have abandoned the law. Would that mean Christ has led us into sin? Absolutely not! Rather, I am a sinner if I rebuild the old system of law I already tore down. For when I tried to keep the law, it condemned me. So I died to the law—I stopped trying to meet all its requirements—so that I might live for God. My old self has been crucified with Christ.It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

 

Faith in Jesus Christ makes us right with God. Obedience to the Law did not do it and is not required to maintain righteousness with God through Jesus. However, once we are reunited with God the violation of the Law of God becomes more evident once His Spirit takes residence in our life. We become more aware of all the ways we have let God down as we move closer to Him in His Presence. It is not God condemning us or offenses mounting against us but rather simply the sin in our life revealed. If we choose to attempt to live according to the Law again, then we condemn ourselves all over again and offense limits access to the Presence of God through an insufficient sin payment. However, if we choose to live for the Lord through Jesus Christ than God doesn’t see our sin any longer simply the Blood of Jesus Christ that covers it. Guilt is the lie of the enemy that the Blood of Jesus was not enough to pay your sin debt in full. In fact, it was. Obedience is simply living in the righteousness of God through Jesus. It shields God from seeing our sin and instantly rejecting us so why in the world would I want to take on the identity of sin and self once more, but rather shed my image for the Image of Christ. Condemnation demonstrates guilt. Righteousness is evidence of freedom impossible outside of Jesus Christ and His Precious Blood. If you feel guilty today, maybe you are attempting to “old system” of judgment in your life. Jesus paid the price for every single sin that ever would have condemned you in the Eyes of God so you may experience freedom. It is time to take the substance of your shame and use it to climb higher and see over the barrier of sin into the New Life Jesus Christ has provided and jump in it.

 

2 Corinthians 6:6-10 (NLT)

We prove ourselves by our purity, our understanding, our patience, our kindness, by the Holy Spirit within us and by our sincere love. We faithfully preach the truth. God’s power is working in us. We use the weapons of righteousness in the right hand for attack and the left hand for defense. We serve God whether people honor us or despise us, whether they slander us or praise us. We are honest, but they call us impostors. We are ignored, even though we are well known. We live close to death, but we are still alive. We have been beaten, but we have not been killed. Our hearts ache, but we always have joy. We are poor, but we give spiritual riches to others. We own nothing, and yet we have everything.

 

The world condemns Christianity and has declared it useful for nothing. They make fun of our purity and principles, mocking our faith as ignorance and judge us by calling us judgmental. Who cares? I am not a resident of this world yet maybe there are days that I have forgotten the rules of my homeland. The Holy Spirit allows us to live pure lives of intelligent faith able to endure and yet still reach out with kindness and sincere love. But condemnation makes us unfit for use. To condemn is to judge. When we decide that we are not overcomers as Jesus indicated when He overcame the world (John 16:33), then what good is our faith? In fact, faith that is only good in this world really is of no use altogether because it has an Eternal purpose not a temporary one. Yet we use it as a stepping stone from glory to glory in this life rather than as a stairway to righteousness in the Presence of God seeking His Will, His Way and to do His Work. Faith that is all about us and not about God is worthless. Faith believes in the unseen things of God. (Hebrews 11:1) Yet we readily abandon our faith for the realities of the world every day placing a condemned sign on our life all over again. This life will yield nothing that lasts into forever except the heart of mankind and his soul. Investment in other things is futile and wasted effort. Until we take the time to move up and over the walls that enclose our life into the Presence of God, we remain condemned and unfit for use. God is calling you higher. He longs for you to get over it (the world) and move into the New Life Jesus Christ died for you to have! Romans 12:1-2 defines our life as “living sacrifices” which is our “reasonable service”. Will you give up your old life of condemnation for freedom forever? When you look at it like that is there really a choice? A few years of struggle or an Eternity of His Glory really do not compare!

 

Isaiah 61:1-3 (NLT)

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me for the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and to proclaim that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed. He has sent me to tell those who mourn that the time of the Lord’s favor has come and with it, the day of God’s anger against their enemies. To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the Lord has planted for his own glory.

 

Are you in the midst of a pity party while you whitewash the sinful walls of offense in your life hoping that God will “rescue” you from the oppression and condemnation that you are experiencing in your life? Are shackles of guilt and shame holding you to the ground when you should be “soaring with eagles” (Isaiah 40:31)? Pacing the barrier of self-confinement, may I suggest the obvious? “Whom the Son sets free is free indeed!” (John 8:36) A co-worker was having trouble accessing the Internet on her computer. Being somewhat computer savvy, she checked all the network connections and all the technical issues that could be limiting her access. Finally, she called the IT professional on campus. Upon arrival, he instantly evaluated the problem. By turning the WIFI switch “on” to connect, her service was instantly restored. She had neglected the obvious. There was not a problem with her connection, she simply was not connected. The Spirit of the Lord now resides in you as a believer. God’s Favor is upon you! It is your time to leave the walls of hurt, offense, guilt and shame and claim your New Life in Jesus Christ beginning with FREEDOM. You are free to be healed of broken heartedness through the Love of Jesus Christ. You have an internal Comforter so you do not need the world’s affection. Just open the door to freedom and tell everyone you come in contact what the Lord has done. He is redeeming every detail of your life for His Good according to His Plan. You don’t have to stay in the midst of sin by doubt, but by faith claim your freedom and move beyond the confinement of this world into the Everlasting Promises of God through Jesus Christ. How does a disgusted, brokenhearted and oppressed Christian bring Glory to God? Claim righteousness today! Move from the cell of your past into the wide open places that God has given you through the Redemptive Power of Jesus Christ. The Lord has anointed you. With His Anointing comes everything you need to prosper! If you are not prospering, then you are not claiming that which is already yours! Righteousness moves you from where you are to where He is. Step up and over the barrier of sin and shame. Live in the Anointing of God. You are anointed. The Spirit of the Living God lives in you!

 

Galatians 5:3-9 (NLT)

I’ll say it again. If you are trying to find favor with God by being circumcised, you must obey every regulation in the whole law of Moses. For if you are trying to make yourselves right with God by keeping the law, you have been cut off from Christ! You have fallen away from God’s grace. But we who live by the Spirit eagerly wait to receive by faith the righteousness God has promised to us.  For when we place our faith in Christ Jesus, there is no benefit in being circumcised or being uncircumcised. What is important is faith expressing itself in love. You were running the race so well. Who has held you back from following the truth? It certainly isn’t God, for he is the one who called you to freedom. This false teaching is like a little yeast that spreads through the whole batch of dough!

 

There are countless Christians confined by condemnation today. You may be one of them. There are days that I am one of them. Doubt makes us believe that sin is more powerful than God and that the Blood of Jesus Christ may be impotent in some way putting the burden of righteousness and obedience back on the shoulders of mankind. NOTHING could be further from the truth or a greater barrier to the Freedom and Favor of God designated for your life. It is high time that believers stop listening to this pitiful lie of the enemy choosing to release the offense and condemnation in their life and using all these things to build a bridge over the barrier into their New Life with Jesus Christ. He paid it all. He did it all. Now it is simply yours by faith, nothing more or less so claim it today! Attempting to add or take away from God’s Grace and immeasurable Sacrifice of Jesus Christ is futile. You have been called to freedom! Claim it! Find it! Live in it today!

 

Job 14:15-17 (NLT)

You would call and I would answer and you would yearn for me, your handiwork.For then you would guard my steps, instead of watching for my sins.My sins would be sealed in a pouch and you would cover my guilt.

Living with Regret – A Devotion

2 Corinthians 7:10 (Amplified)

For godly grief and the pain God is permitted to direct, produce a repentance that leads and contributes to salvation and deliverance from evil, and it never brings regret; but worldly grief (the hopeless sorrow that is characteristic of the pagan world) is deadly [breeding and ending in death].

 

Regret is not a good roommate. It is the unwanted guest of many people. Believers and nonbelievers wrestle everyday with the pesky squatter who tries to come in and take residence in our life. Everyone has one thing, two things or a hundred things that they wish they could do differently. Or there are always the immortal words, “If I knew then, what I know now…” You fill in the blank. Life is full of missed opportunities and people who would love a do over. But such things do not happen in reality. In real life, we often do not get second chances and even if we do there are still the consequences of the original choice to contend with. Seldom do the memories or ramifications of past mistakes and failures get instantaneously wiped away. The enemy of your soul would like to take the all important vehicle of repentance in your life and stall it with a little something called regret. The two are closely related but repentance is a useful product of godly grief and pain while regret is a devastating tool used by the enemy to steal your blessing. There are many things in my life that I would like to hang the term “regret” upon but to do so allow them to take residence in my life. It is time that the Body of Christ becomes familiar with these two very similar terms and chooses the one that is an avenue of faith and blessing while leaving the other in the past where it belongs. Repentance NEVER brings regret. However, regret CAN bring repentance. God’s Way is always ONE WAY. His Road is always the NARROW ONE. To live victoriously it is imperative that believers choose repentance as their vehicle and abandon regret in their life. To do so requires knowledge. It takes understanding to make an informed choice.

 

Regret is a sense of loss, disappointment and dissatisfaction. It is to declare fault for an act, loss or disappointment. It is take responsibility for all of your faults and failures causing remorse and sorrow for those mistakes that now cannot be changed. However, repentance does not nullify the guilt and shame associated with sin in a believer’s life, but it is a turning away from that sin and walking away. Repentance means leaving regret (guilt and shame) as well. There are three Greek words in the New Testament that refer to repentance. The first “metamelomai” means a change of mind. Though repentance is brought about by sorrow for one’s sin, it radically changes one’s mind regarding the matter rather than doing nothing about it and remaining there. “Metanoeo” means changing one’s mind and purpose as the result of knowledge. It is an informed choice. “Metanoia” is the noun used for true repentance when one experiences sorrow for past sins and changes their mind and purpose to reflect this admission. Such repentance causes one to actually hate sin and turn away from it in abhorrence. This is very different than regret which often returns to the scene of the crime over and over without clear decisiveness. Regret is simple reviewing our insufficiencies over and over with the same outcome. Repentance is choosing to walk away from the sin that once defined our lives into the New Life Jesus Christ died for us to have. Do you have regrets? Are you living with regret? The Lord is inviting you to walk out of regret and into true repentance today!  

 

John 9:35-41 (Message)

Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, and went and found him. He asked him, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” The man said, “Point him out to me, sir, so that I can believe in him.” Jesus said, “You’re looking right at him. Don’t you recognize my voice?” “Master, I believe,” the man said, and worshiped him. Jesus then said, “I came into the world to bring everything into the clear light of day, making all the distinctions clear, so that those who have never seen will see, and those who have made a great pretense of seeing will be exposed as blind.” Some Pharisees overheard him and said, “Does that mean you’re calling us blind?” Jesus said, “If you were really blind, you would be blameless, but since you claim to see everything so well, you’re accountable for every fault and failure.”

 

Repentance does not make us accountable for our past sin. It is an act of faith. Jesus paid the penalty for our mistakes. When we repent, it is a full admission of guilt and total reliance on Jesus Christ to save us from the ramifications of our sin. However, though repentance enables us to walk away from sin it does not remove the memory of those acts committed against God that produce regret. The enemy uses guilt and shame to convince Children of God that they are unworthy of such a gift often tricking them into abandoning their inheritance in God. Repentance carries you away from sin. Regret continually brings you back to it. Jesus healed a man who was blind since birth. In the Old Testament, birth defects were often mistakenly attributed to past sins. The Pharisees were quite annoyed by the Power of Jesus Christ. Unable to explain it or refute it, all they could do was continuously poor over God’s Law and look for violations in the actions of the Lord. This particular account is of a man healed on the Sabbath. Repeatedly these religious men interrogated this man and his family regarding his transformation. When Jesus encountered the man again, the Lord reestablished His Goal. This man had been set free but the guilt of religion and the scrutiny of others were attempting to shackle him to his past. Every detail of your life was written to encourage and support total repentance in your life and reunification with God – whether regarded as good or bad. Regret is like asking a crippled man who has been healed to limp again or a blind man who now sees to take a second look at yesterday. Whether physically incapacitated or spiritually inept, Jesus Christ came to “bring everything into the clear light of day” and make repentance the vehicle of victory. Is regret causing you to continually return to sin? Was Jesus not enough to heal your life and save your soul? Regret is a direct conflict with repentance. Regret says, “No, Jesus was not enough.” Repentance declares, “Jesus is MORE than enough!”

 

I John 2:28-29 (NLT)

And now, dear children, remain in fellowship with Christ so that when he returns, you will be full of courage and not shrink back from him in shame. Since we know that Christ is righteous, we also know that all who do what is right are God’s children.

 

We should never shrink back from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in shame. If we feel overwhelming guilt, then there is a sin problem that needs repentance – true repentance that will move you out of regret into restoration and renewal as a Child of God. No longer are you out of covenant with God but through acceptance of Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior – you have been made right with God. Now it is up to you to keep moving in that direction and turning from your sin into His Glorious Light. You should be filled with His Spirit who fosters courage and humility as you enter into God’s Presence and live there without fear, worry, shame, guilt OR regrets. To regret anything you have been through would mean that you would be willing to miss God to have your pride. Not me, God take my pride. Lord, you can have my flesh and crucify it until all that is left is Your Spirit reigning in my life. I walk away from regret and into true repentance where there is no shame just grace.

 

Romans 8:37-39 (NIV)

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

 

Conquerors walk in victory not regret. They do what they have to do to win the battle and enjoy the spoils of a win. You are more than a conqueror by the Power of Jesus Christ. No longer must you live under the oppression of the enemy. You win! Jesus conquered grave, death and hell just for you. Nothing can take you back to your past unless you choose to go with them. So tell the enemy to let you out! You are victorious in Jesus Christ! No more living with regret – you have inherited the Kingdom of God. You are free to be everything God called you to be. So start living in your freedom today! Be free. Seek true repentance and stop living in regret! You win!

Incriminating Chocolate – A Devotion

2 Samuel 22:20-22 (NKJV)

He also brought me out into a broad place; He delivered me because He delighted in me. “The LORD rewarded me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands He has recompensed me. For I have kept the ways of the LORD and have not wickedly departed from my God.

 

I am convinced that chocolate is incriminating. Don’t get me wrong. I love chocolate just as much as the next person. But, there is something about the substance of chocolate no matter what form that leaves its mark whether it goes. You can bake a cake and rinse the bowl but whip up a batch of brownies and the gooey substance seems to stick to everything it touches. The bowl, spoon, towel, sink and kids all bear the mark of the encounter. It seems as though the more you try to remove it, the messier it gets spreading to everything remotely close to the origin. A warm chocolate bar looks inviting in the wrapper but once it is opened it becomes an inevitable stain. Even the candy that boasts to melt in your mouth, not in your hands is not immune to becoming a dissolvable mess under the right circumstances. How can something that tastes so good be such an inconvenience? Chocolate is not easily forgotten as it is proudly displayed on clothing, hands and faces. Even handwashing must be rigorous with plenty of soap to cut through the offensive remnant of that which seemed to be so satisfying. Sin accompanied by shame has the same effect. At the time, sin feels right. It fits our lifestyle and that particular moment in time. Shame is a lot like chocolate. After the fun is over, it leaves a mark. Sin is sticky. Though we may vow to leave it behind, the residue of the mistakes we make have a way of showing through even the most carefully constructed façade of self-confidence covering our life. The Blood of Jesus Christ has the power to wash away every single sin we have ever committed and will ever commit. His Grace can flush away the shame and iniquity that threaten to compromise our relationship with Jesus Christ. Just as the mess left behind from chocolate is hard to remove, so is the shame left from sin. It is impossible to live a righteous life in the midst of shame so it has to go.

 

2 Corinthians 7:10 (NLT)

For the kind of sorrow God wants us to experience leads us away from sin and results in salvation. There’s no regret for that kind of sorrow. But worldly sorrow, which lacks repentance, results in spiritual death.

 

When we commit a sin and repent, Jesus Christ removes the sin and covers our life with His Grace. By hanging on to the stain of sin, it is a declaration that the Blood of Jesus was not enough. It indicates that full payment has not been made. It also shows how little one knows about God. God wants to deliver you today from the shame that sin has left you bound in. He longs to do so because He loves you. The answer seems so simple yet it is quite profound. There is no regret in repentance because no sin remains. God is looking for clean hands and a clean heart in His People. Repentance from sin is only the beginning. One must choose to wash away shame with the sin in order to encounter God and true righteousness. Rejoice in the Lord – you have been saved from death. God’s sole purpose through repentance is to lead us away from sin, not to continue to punish His People for their sin. Brow beating oneself over mistakes that have been carried to the Lord is not noble. It is sin. Now that sin has been forgiven and forgotten by God, His People must work diligently to remove the shame that the enemy is forcing upon them to see God’s Glory manifested in place of the death sentence once carried.  

 

Hebrews 10:21-23 (NLT)

And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God’s house, let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water. Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise.

 

Jesus is the great High Priest. The Lord brings forgiveness of sin. He longs to heal you and make you whole. His earnest desire is to set you free. However, a believer bears responsibility in this exchange as well. Once Jesus forgives you, it is up to you to accept His Gift. God does His Part. You have to do your part. The Lord is willing to do for you exactly what He has said that He would do. However, if your life is marked with guilt it renders you unable to fully accept the Gifts of God. Your sin did not shock the Lord. He was not surprised that you failed miserably. He does not see you through eyes of condemnation. Those are your eyes that see such a reflection. God knew that sin would try to sabotage your life so Jesus Christ became an offering for every downfall. Isn’t it time you washed the guilt that is holding you back from receiving all that the Lord has for you? It may seem as though no matter what you do or where you go, it is right there for all to see. You must walk in the broad place called “freedom.” Shame cannot be your companion only the grace of God through Christ Jesus. Allow the Lord to separate you from your shame today. Restoration is available to those willing to release the remorse and guilt of sin. He wants to fill you up…it’s time you made room for the blessings of God in your life.

 

Psalm 103:11-14 (NKJV)

For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward those who fear Him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us. As a father pities his children, so the LORD pities those who fear Him.

 

As children, we are trained to feel shame when we do not meet the expectations of society. Unconditional love is extremely hard to find as there are constant expectations made of one another. God loves us unconditionally. He loves us so much in fact that He cannot bear to see us close to sin. He takes our mistakes removing them as far as the east is from the west. However, when we live in shame, God is constantly reminded of those infractions as they mark our life. Salvation is not fully accepted until guilt and shame go. God pities His Children. The Lord is moved by compassion to release us from the sin that shackles us to a mediocre life of trial and error. Once we are set free, God desires us to grow and prosper. When we constantly return to past sins through shame, it is two steps forward and three steps back. How could we doubt the Love of God that is so complete? We must retrain our mind and heart to release shame and guilt choosing to be free.

 

John 8:36 (NKJV)

Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.

 

Spend time with Jesus today and let Him wash away the residue of sin that is shame. Let Him heal your heart from the inside out and restore your faith. There is nothing you can do that will ever cause God not to love you. You just have to learn to love yourself. God’s love is unconditional. You are called to freedom. Self-incrimination inhibits God’s Work in your life. The Son has set you free. Get up off your knees and wipe away the dirt. You are a Child of the King. Live like it. Release guilt. Rejoice and say, “Look what the Lord has done!”