Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Good News

I felt like writing again on forgiveness today. Strangely, or rather apparently, there is a need for me to be writing on the subject again. Last week I blogged that forgiveness is for everyone. There is power in forgiveness and I wanted to write on it once more. Forgive Everyone. And I mean everyone, and the harder it is to mouth the words and to sum up the courage to do so, the more essential it is for you to release the burden of that hatred. Hatred is a prison. Forgiveness is freedom. Last week, when I wrote on the subject I was much more focused on the process of forgiveness that brings healing to the broken or to the offender. I wanted to segue just a little to the right and write for a moment on forgiving yourself. Some of us have a difficult time forgiving and loving ourselves. We find it so much easier to forgive and love “other” people but we are hard on ourselves. We hold on to past offenses and feelings of regret. We spout hateful words to ourselves, “You suck.” “You’ll never change.” “Once a loser always a loser.” But I want to remind you that in Christ you have received (been given) FORGIVENESS of all sins. Not on the basis of your own perfection or your own righteousness; but on the basis of His free gift.

I was listening to a remarkable man of God, Joseph Prince today and he was preaching a message on grace and He said something very true and very pure. To surmise, he essentially said that there is no grace message. It is just the gospel. “The gospel is grace.” If we believe that the gospel is absent of grace, or that grace is a by-product of the gospel than we have entirely (I’ll repeat, entirely) misunderstood and misrepresented the gospel as Jesus Christ delivered it. If grace is something all together separate than we have not fully understood the good news. We have added something to it that God did not intend. My husband often preaches that the cross is not an addition sign. It is not The Cross plus what I do. It is very simply what Christ has done. Period. The good news (gospel) is that our sins have been FORGIVEN. Gone. Gone. Gone.

Forgive everyone including yourself. Let God love you and be as good to you as He wants to. Not long ago, I had a thought. I was thinking about myself and I had a few gripes against Natrietia. And the Holy Spirit whispered to me, “What would you tell someone who was going through what you are going through? How would you encourage them?” I smiled of course. And it was then, that I learned something. I learned that I have to encourage myself, minister to myself just like I would a fellow brother or sister. I have to think of myself, as God does. I have to forgive myself, just as Christ forgives me. I have to receive the good news…. Daily. Some people subscribe to their local newspaper or world news chronicle to keep them informed. But there is news, that God has delivers to you daily that will keep you in a place of liberty and freedom...it is the good news, the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Forgive Everyone

Forgiveness is for everyone. I ran across a pin on Pinterest that simply stated, “Forgive Everyone.” The short statement composed of two words spoke so much to my heart and soul. It is a reminder to me, one, of the forgiveness that I have received in Christ and two of the lifestyle of forgiveness that I desire to live in. It has been said that “Forgiveness isn't for the other person; but for you.” And to a certain extinct I can agree with that sentiment. But there is a grand difference between me forgiving someone who has hurt or offended me for the purpose of me being freed; and the much more difficult exercise of forgiving a person who has hurt or offended me because I recognize that their woundedness caused them to wound me. No longer do I look through the eyes of judgment, but through the eyes of love. The unfailing love that has the bible says “covers a multitude of sins.” When we forgive everyone, father, mother, sister, brother, neighbor, friend or foe…we begin to see the pain in their eyes opposed to the offense in our hearts, and our motivation to forgive is not to free ourselves, but much rather to free them.

I think of God. He didn’t forgive me of my sins to free himself. He wasn’t bound. I was. His forgiveness gave me liberty. His love covered my sins, my wrongs, my weakness, my sickness…It is so beautiful really. The depths of God’s love and the power that He has, as Master and Lord, to forgive everyone.

Let’s pray, “Father, we thank you today for giving us a heart like you and helping us to see through the eyes of love. Help us to forgive those who have hurt us and bring with it the restoration of joy and peace. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.”

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Hurt of Relief (It Gets Ugly but it will End Pretty)

I had a conversation with my sister recently and we laughed that we never expected our faith walk to look anything like it has. We remarked that it, the walk, the life, the faith gets ugly. Sometimes there is pain we did not expect to come. Sometimes we cry tears that we did not count on crying as believers. We are faced with all manner of contradictions to the life that we were born to lead. The process of overcoming and believing isn’t very pretty, much like the birthing process we experienced as mothers. We were in our respective delivery rooms. There was no make-up (well, she had on a little---haha). There were no fancy garments; in fact, we had to get naked to give birth. We had to make ourselves vulnerable, expose our weakness and our pains to give birth to our children; and though that process was so very ugly…it got pretty in just a moment.

As John 16:21 so eloquently explains, “A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world.”

However long or short the labor, though it is painful and ugly, when what we had been carrying for 40 weeks or so finally pushes its way out, all of the ugliness fades away in the beauty and newness of this life. Relieved of the temporary pain, we marvel at the child, so small and innocent, pure and light. We reckon that there is nothing quite as beautiful and miraculous as this. And our joy feels complete. The reality and complexity of life has always been one of the most demonstrative evidences of God to me. Ecclesiastes 11:5 explains it in this way,

“As you do not know the path of the wind, or how the body is formed in a mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the work of God, the Maker of all things.”

We can explain and give names to things that God created but we, ourselves are incapable of creating anything that is original. If it is language where did sound come from? If it is music where did the material to create the instrument originate? If it is art who created the eye to see it? And if by chance, we were inclined to believe that life began by a spark or by a cell having no body, where then was its origin? Is it not God, the Creator all who has fashioned us all?

I began to think on these things recently, having given birth to a child I carried for well over 15 years or more. At times, I was in pain, embarrassed that my labor had been so long and that I had not given birth. I wanted to be the mom, who goes in and spits the baby out in record time. I carried the baby, The Lady’s Rage, in the womb of my heart and soul for so long that when the labor came, I barely knew it. It was a painful process carrying it, but I wanted the relief of giving birth. I no longer wanted its life inside of me, but outside of me. And so, the day came, The Lady’s Rage was born on April 1, 2013. She was a healthy baby girl, born to deliver a generation, born with purpose and born of God’s spirit. I am reminded of Mary, the mother of Jesus. Her name had meant sorrow but she birthed a deliverer. While others marveled at her son, the Bible recounts her at many stages of Jesus’ life as “keeping all these things and pondering them in her heart.” (Luke 2:19 & 51)

In my heart, there had been many sorrows but God had used them all to bring deliverance. So often we find ourselves pregnant at the wrong time, in the wrong place and if we fear we will abort the child that has been given to us. We will say, “This is not the right time. I can’t be pregnant right now.” But if we allow the Spirit of God to help us through the walk, we can make it even if we waddle, even if our feet get swollen…even if we get ugly in the process…The Lord promises that it will get pretty at the end. Our responsibility is to carry it. To keep it in mind and in our hearts until the day comes.

I know that there are some people today who are feeling the hurt of relief, the pain of their labor; but I want to encourage you today to push through it until your baby comes forth. What God has given you to birth is for you and there is nothing that can stop the baby from coming forth except that you abort it through fear. Don’t allow yourself to be distracted in this moment. God is giving you the faith and the strength to push in your weakest moment and to press into the promises that He has for you. Don’t lose heart. Don’t give up now. Just keep pushing! Your relief is right before you, your joy will be full and you will remember the hurt no more!

Let’s pray, “Father, God, Thank you for your grace on us now. Give us the strength to persist and to push through the pain. Relieve us from our fears and make us willing and strong. Give us the faith to believe you at your word. Impossibilities do not limit your ability. Perform your word in us today according to your will. We believe you and we honor you with our faith today. You are the Lord and there is no other. Our confidence rest in you today and we are moved by your Spirit to declare your goodness and your mercy wherever we go. Let your light shine in our hearts today that others may witness your glorious nature. Thank you, Lord for your coming glory. Thank you, Lord for your favor. Thank you, Lord for restoration all around us. We give you the praise. For yours, is the kingdom and the glory and the honor forever. In Jesus’ name, Amen."

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

The Lady's Rage is Now Available...

The Lady's Rage is now available at Amazon.com
Get your copy Today! The Lady’s Rage is a rare glimpse into the life of a believer that is often times hidden in the shadows of private turmoil. It is a vivid portrait of a woman’s redemptive walk of faith, intricately woven into biographical stories, breath taking poems and revelatory affirmations. The Lady’s Rage is noble without being pretentious; and a work of art grafted into pages that both inspires and provokes its reader to believe again. The Lady’s Rage is more than a book. It is a movement that began in the heart of God for a fearless generation to rise up out of sorrow into the righteous faith that we have been called to in the grace and power of the one, Jesus Christ, whose blood has redeemed us from the brokenness and tragedies of life.