Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Forgiving Beyond Measure

Early in my Christian walk I thought forgiveness was easy. Friends ask for forgiveness and I give it. Simple as that. But as my journey progressed I learned that forgiveness is not so easily given or obtained. As one who has been hurt many times through the years and held many a grudge, I’ve come to realize forgiveness is a process. One in which I cannot do alone. I think most would agree that human nature is to “live and learn”. And so when I get hurt my natural instinct is to be more cautious and careful the next time around, shielding my heart from the pain that inevitably follows a betrayal. 

But the Lord calls us to live beyond our natural instincts.

 Colossians 3:13 says to forgive as the Lord has forgiven us.  And in Matthew 18 when Peter asks Jesus how many times he should forgive his brother the Lord replies, “I tell you not seven times, but seventy-seven times”. But you and I both know that is easier said than done.  When I am betrayed by those I love the wound is that much deeper. And if the wound is poked and prodded it will often leave a scar. Throughout my journey to forgiveness I’ve found in Matthew 26 that Jesus himself has been betrayed. By one of the twelve. The twelve he spent most of his days with were as close as any family He had.  These were His friends, His family, and His beloved.

I am comforted knowing that the Lord Almighty through His son Jesus knows by firsthand experience how I feel in the midst of betrayal. He understands the humiliation, the loneliness, the anger, the bitterness and the reluctance to trust again. He’s been there. And so when I go to my Father with a heavy heart, I hand over the hurt to the ultimate healer and beg to be merciful in loving those who have caused me pain just as Christ has done for us. In closing, I challenge you to begin your own journey to forgiveness with the Lord and let Him restore you completely.

**This article was originally published on the World Bible School Blog. That blog is no longer functioning so I wanted to share this article with my followers here. Enjoy and may you be encouraged.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Walking in God Confidence

I’ve recently had the opportunity to tell my personal story. I have felt the spirit of the Lord hovering around this subject for quite some time. And when I was asked to share my story with our Wednesday night ladies class, I could deny His holy nudge no longer. I took time to pray and discuss with my husband, all the while knowing the Lord wouldn’t take no for an answer. And after a week of thinking it over, I accepted the invitation.

Emotions wavered as I thought of what I might say. Some days were filled with confidence and others with complete fear. Speaking in front of a large group is out of my comfort zone and I did not want to do this task the Lord had set before me. But the scripture “Not my will but Thine” planted itself on my heart.

I had two weeks to prepare. Plenty of time right? But as each day crept closer and closer I realized I just needed to sit down and get it all out on paper. As a writer this was a natural response, but I found it helped tremendously. As there are so many aspects to my illness writing it out really helped me focus on what needed to be said.

But Satan started his attacks as if we’d just entered into a furious battle. He thought if he took my rock out from under me I’d lose my support. So two days before I was to speak, my husband fell at work spraining his ankle, putting him in bed for 3 days. Then the enemy decided I’d succumb if he messed with my physical body. Goiters and headaches sat in that same day.
I must admit after losing my rock and my thyroid giving me fits, I wondered whether or not I could pull it off. Then the evil one planted lice in my youngest daughter’s hair when she went to school the next day (and I know that came from Satan as I’ve yet to determine the good Lord’s purpose in creating those nasty little bugs).

So the only logical conclusion was that Satan did not want my story to be told. And this made me smile. If I had ever doubted telling my story before, now I knew my story had to be told. But the day of my talk I wanted to bail. Multiple times. As fear grabbed hold of my heart and butterflies fluttered inside, my thoughts became jumbled and I started losing focus.
I called upon my friends and family to pray and I felt the prayers they offered up on my behalf.

But once I sat in front of that room I felt His presence. And I realized I could do this. Even though I didn’t have the confidence to pull this off on my own, when the Lord stepped up beside me I was walking in His confidence.

God Confidence.

And I asked myself, how are we to help one another and carry each other’s burdens if we don’t share our struggles?  And how are we to lift one another up if no one talks about the battles within.
As the Lord once again came to my rescue that night I knew I could do all things through Christ who stregnthened me. He’s never failed me. And He won’t fail you. Gird up your loins and walk in God Confidence telling your own story so that the Lord may be made perfect in your weakness.