This week in our Bible reading we have finished the Pentateuch (first five books), Israel possessed most of her land, fell into sin and everyone "did what was right in their own eyes"! Today we will start off with Samson's demise. What amazes me so much each time I read through these passages, is how quickly the Israelites fall away from their belief in an Awesome God, who worked miracles in the presence of their elders and who still occasionally appeared to them through the presence of the Angel of the Lord. Instead, they chose to believe in gods of stone and wood and metal, gods who were dead and unable to love, protect or guide them!
My "prime directive" in life, now that I am a Mommy, is to teach my children about the faithfulness of our Heavenly Father, so that they will love and learn and grow in knowledge of righteousness and holiness. Every time I hear a Christian woman say, "I'm just a mom", I cringe. We have a huge responsibility to teach this, not only through Bible lessons and books and taking them to church and Sunday School, but by living it out daily in our own lives.
Do we walk through life victoriously? Or do we give up on ourselves and the calling He has given us? Most of the time I would venture that when we (I) give up, it's because I am not living up to my own expectations. These expectations are heavy, burdensome, painful and impossible to meet. These expectations don't come from Him, but from us (me). Christ told us His burden is light. Why do we exchange it for something difficult and overwhelming?
In order to walk victoriously, we need to allow the Father to show us who He expects us to be. We can find that in the pages of Scripture, sometimes with Godly guidance from a mentor, often whispered to us in times of prayer and frequently when we search our own hearts, because He has written it there!
Do not depend on how you feel! Feelings are deceptive! Do not depend on what society tells you! Society is generally wrong on spiritual issues. And even what your friends and family tell you, needs to be filtered through the Holy Spirit and God's word. When we listen to the voices and thoughts of everyone else but Him, we will always find ourselves coming up short. This is obviously true when you come from generations of perfectionists as I do, but also for those of you who do not. Who do you answer to? Jesus and our Heavenly Father! When we are washed in the blood of Jesus, that's what our Heavenly Father sees. When we fall or have shortcomings, we need to seek His forgiveness and then we need to accept it! Certainly some issues take longer to face and work through, but in all things we should ask forgiveness, repent and move forward in Him.
Most often I find that it is easy for me to accept His forgiveness, but I cannot forgive myself. This is much more difficult. But when we view ourselves differently than He does, we end up in trouble. This causes us to think too much about ourselves, cripples us for ministry He may have prepared for us and if we are parents - the enemy uses this as a bad example to our children.
There is no magic answer. Jesus is not a magician. But there is power in the blood. The Bible says that all our righteousness (attempts to be good) are as filthy rags. I have heard that this literally means menstrual rags. Yuck! What a picture that makes. But Jesus knew that we could not do it on our own and became the perfect Passover Lamb, firstborn male without blemish. He is the ultimate sacrifice. He has made me white as snow! My own filth is covered by His blood, which the Father sees. He forgives. He knows we have had the ultimate cleansing.
Michelle Pillar sings a song:
When He sees me, He sees His righteousness.
He sees His Holy Spirit filling up my emptiness.
And when He looks at me, He sees the blood He shed.
I know He sees Himself each time He looks at me!
Pride does come before a fall. Our righteousness is a gift we accept humbly, not of ourselves unless we should boast, as Paul says. However, walking around moping and defeated is like spitting in the wind. I do not advocate faking confidence, but I realize through years of insecurities and "low self esteem" that this is just an inverted form of pride that focuses on Me, Me, Me! I didn't need self esteem. I needed Christ esteem. I needed to see myself as He sees me and then walk in that! So I encourage you today, if you are struggling in this area to look at who God made you to be. Accept His assessment of you. One of my favorite places to read this is Ephesians, especially the first couple chapters. You might think I make it seem too simple. Well it really isn't as complicated as we all make it out to be and yet at the same time it is a wondrous thing to explore the deep, deep love of Jesus!
God often speaks to me in songs. Amy Grant's words ring true and speak to me time after time:
All I ever have to be is what you made me,
Any more or less would be a step out of your plan,
As you daily re-create me, help me always keep in mind,
That I only have to do what I can find,
And all I have to be,
All I have to be,
All I ever have to be,
Is who You have made me.
Any more or less would be a step out of His plan. What convicting words! Can I add to the work of Christ and make it better? Could I take from it and accomplish His will. The safest place is to rest in His plan for our lives! 21 years ago, my cousin Dan, who now is a missionary, gave me a verse to encourage me and it has become my "life verse". Many are familiar with Proverbs 3:5-6. It speaks to me because of my own weakness of leaning on my own understanding!
Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Lean not on your own understanding. Acknowledge Him in all your ways and He will make your paths straight.
If you are walking on a crooked, dry or dangerous path today, I ask you humbly to consider if you are walking in His way carrying His burden (which is light) or are you walking your own way with a burden He has not given you? I do not have all the answers. I may not even have some answers. So, this question is asked humbly. I do not know. But, He does. Walking in the way of the Lord is not always easy. It's not butterflies and singing and roses all the time (though He delights in giving good gifts to His children!). It is a way of reality. But in reality, He brings us through all things, even those humanly unbearable, and His healing and fellowship are sweet. Come walk with me today, my beloved, is His call to our hearts!
This post today is inspired by a meme I saw at Wisteria and Roses. Her answers are creative and genuine. I have enjoyed exploring her blog. I'll put my answers here and invite anyone who would like to join in!
I Am... A child of God
I Think... Too much sometimes.
I Know... God's Word is True
I Have... Often stumbled and "cut off my nose to spite my face"!
I Wish... That I listened more to His voice and less to mine or the world's!
I Miss... My Daddy and my brother Danny
I Fear... Losing those I love in death
I Feel... Overwhelmed in my own "to do" lists
I Hear... Little voices playing with Tinker Toys
I Smell... Smoke in the air!
I Crave... More time to study His Word!
I Search... My heart, to clear and crumb or cobweb that hinders
I Wonder... As I watch my children explore His world
I Regret... Not handing my regrets over to Him sooner!
I Love... The Lord my God with all my heart, with all my mind, with all my strength and with all my soul
I Ache... For those I love who do not know Him
I Am Not... Abandoned or Alone
I Believe... He will continue to guide me
I Dance... only in my heart, because I have 3 left feet and no rhythm! lol
I Sing... When the Lord fills my heart with praise
I Cry... In movies when someone dies
I Don't Always... Remember to "lean not on my own understanding"
I Fight... Perfectionism
I Write... To keep my brain from exploding with all the ideas!
I Win... When I keep my eyes fixed on the goal, the upward calling in Christ!
I Never... Say never! It can get you in trouble!
I Always... Need His strength
I Confuse... Need and Want sometimes
I Listen... To hear His voice calling in the wilderness
I Can Usually Be Found... At home, with my children
I Am Scared... That I will die before my children are grown
I Need... Daily reminders to "trust in the Lord with all my heart"
I Am Happy About... Sharing with you
I Imagine... That some of my readers will not understand my heart in this post and be put off by it.