By Melissa Warren
I’ve made so many mistakes, I can’t begin to count them
I don’t know sometimes why I do the things I do
Or why I don’t do the things I want to
The apostle Paul struggle with that, too
I remember times that I did things. . . things that I’m so very not proud of
Things I wish were nothing more than a nightmare
Even if they wouldn’t seem that bad to anyone else, they were that bad to me
And I wish, oh how I wish, that I could go back and redo everything
Restart my life, with a better sense of right and wrong
With the memory of what I’ve been through, so I’ll know how to live
Have the chance to do something the right way, without having to learn the hard way
But life is funny; it doesn’t bow to our will
I would that it did
Life is linear, from our point of view
And we can’t go back and change it
It’s there, forever
All those mistakes, those things I don’t like about myself
I can’t erase them
But, I know Someone Who can
I know a Man that has the power to cover my mistakes, my sins, and wash them away
Those stains on my life
They don’t have to have power over me
Not if I give my life to Him
‘Cuz He has this really awesome way about Him
He likes to wipe the slate clean
Doesn’t mean the mistakes haven’t happened
But it does mean, that if we ask Him to,
He forgets them
He covers them with His perfect blood, and washes us as white as snow
The new kind of snow, pure, no blemishes
So in a way, we do have the ability to go back and make better decisions
But instead, we go forward and make better decisions
Better yet, it’s not a one-time offer
He’s faithful to me, to us
He forgives us, over and over again
Mistakes? What mistakes?
He has made me new.
“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, if there be any praise, think on these things.” Philippians 4:8
Had a great church service a while back. Came away from it knowing that I have to “tend my field.” I can no longer let the tares – the weeds – grow among the good grain. So, I’ve been spending a lot of time pulling up weeds. When I first heard the service, I already barely watched any kind of television; I don’t watch any, now. I’m tired of seeing all the drinking, drugging, swearing, sexual innuendos, fornication, etc. That’s not the kind of thing I should be filling my mind with. Philippians 4:8 tells me to concentrate on things that are true, honest, just, lovely, and of good report; tv doesn’t fit the bill. Nor do movies. I enjoy mindless entertainment to help me wind down just as much as the next person. But I’ve noticed: when the mindless entertainment showcases the kind of behavior the Bible tells me I need to have, instead of the stuff that is against the Bible, I feel much better. I have a better attitude. My walk with God stays strong, and I spend more time with Him. So, tv and movies that don’t follow Biblical principles are out. Which means tv and movies are out, period, because I’ve never seen a movie that doesn’t have some of the Hollywood junk in it (including the ones that are supposed to be Christian).
Music is another weed; if I can’t worship to it, I’m not going to listen to it.
I’m going to spend a little more time tilling my field, too; more time in the Word and in prayer. More time spent helping out the kingdom wherever I can. I can hardly wait until God reveals the changes in me that will occur because of this decision. It won’t be easy to stick with, but nothing worth it is ever really easy.
What about you? Are there any tares you feel God telling you to get rid of?
Everyone struggles with sin. Everyone desires forgiveness. Isn’t it awesome that God gives us forgiveness? I’m thankful.
I am no different than anyone else. I struggle with sin. I struggle with my temper, with my attitude, with so many other things. Every day, I have to apologize to God for my sins. In order to feel like I can overcome them, I have to confess my sins to God, as many as I can. King David went even further than that – he asked God to save him from his “secret sins” – the ones he committed that he didn’t even realize he’d done.
“Who can understand his errors? cleanse thou me from secret faults.”
As I was getting ready to write this post and reading over the verses I wanted to use, I realized that David also asked God to keep him from other sins:
“Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent of the great transgression.”
Presumptuous sins… what might those be? Assumption, perhaps. What could be more presumptuous than that? But I think it goes deeper than that. So, I looked it up. According to BlueLetterBible.org, in this verse, the original word is zed, and it’s literal translation is:
So presumptuous sins refers to arrogance, coupled with insolence and impiety. This got me thinking: how have I been arrogant in my walk with God? I tried to be really and truly honest with myself, and I was very sobered by the realization that I am extremely arrogant with God. I have the tendency to assume (there’s that presumption again) that something is or is not from God. I have the habit of deciding that, if I don’t feel forgiven for a sin, it’s because God didn’t forgive me yet, when in actuality, He forgave me the moment I asked; I simply hadn’t forgiven my self (I John 1:9).
I’m pretty arrogant, aren’t I? I take upon myself the power to decide when and if a sin has been or will be forgiven, even though I can ‘t forgive anyone – least of all myself – of any sins. This is a problem.
So how to overcome arrogance like that? By remembering that Someone perfect had to die for my sins, I am reminded that I am far from perfect, far from knowing the future, far from the power that decides life or death. Only God holds that power, and as talked about in a recent church service, I don’t want to take over God’s job! The message was actually about vengeance and bitterness, and how God said that vengeance is His and He will repay (Romans 12:9). When we take over the job of getting back at someone, we are taking over God’s job. We are saying that we are on the same level as God, since we can do His job. And, correct me if I’m wrong, but putting himself on the same level as God is what got Lucifer kicked out of Heaven. Yeah. Don’t want to do that. But as I write this, I’m struck with the idea that I have been getting revenge on myself for my sins, by constantly beating myself up over them instead of making every conscious effort not to commit them again. I’m talking about some specific sins that I struggle with – temper issues, attitude, apathy, some others. And when I realize that I’ve committed a sin again, I get angry with myself. I ask God to forgive me, sure, but then I tell myself that I’m such a horrible person for committing the same sins again that there is no way I can be forgiven and to just give up. Way to play Job’s friends and wife, right?
So, instead of giving up, I should stop giving myself power and authority that I don’t have. I need to remember that God is sovereign, and He will forgive me if I simply ask. That doesn’t mean I should commit sins with the intention of asking forgiveness, however; this kind of behavior sorrows God, maybe even angers Him. Woah. Do NOT want to anger God, or sorrow Him, or anything else.
A recent Sunday School lesson for the class I teach covered what repentance is. I told the kids, “Repentance doesn’t mean you say you’re sorry, do the sin again, say you’re sorry, do the sin again, and so on. It means you say you’re sorry, and lean on God for the strength to resist committing that sin again.” Conviction! Practice what ya teach, teacher :).
All in all, it’s easy to sin. But, thank the Lord, it’s also easy to find forgiveness for those sins, and even easier to ask God for help. That’s not to say that you will never commit those sins again, or that you will have no problem resisting the temptation to sin; but rather, that if you rely on God as your strength, you can and will stand against all sorts of temptation.
“There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”
I Chronicles 10:13
Remember the saying, “Practice makes perfect”? Well, it applies here, as well. The more you resist sin, the easier it gets to resist sin. Pray daily for the strength to resist and for the courage to take the straight and narrow path in each situation. Spend time daily in the Word, finding and reading – and memorizing – verses that will help you in your walk with God. That whole, “Thy Word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against Thee” and “Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path” thing, ya know (Psalms 119:11, Psalms 119:105). A little illumination is good, but the more, the better, right?
Here’s the really, truly, incredibly awesome part – God has promised that he will break the bonds of sin – and therefore, the punishment for them – from off of us!
“For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.”
I wanted to come on here and just share with you the peace and joy I’ve been feeling the past several days. God is awesome! I’ve been stressed out about a few things, and have been worrying them over and over in my head. The other night, that song “He’s Been Faithful” just kept taking that stuff’s place. Made me think about how little I must trust God to be worrying. It’s a sin to worry, really – as long as we do our best, God will take care of the rest, right? And if we continually worry about things, it’s akin to saying that God’s not big enough to handle it. Which, of course, is crazy, since He’s totally big enough to handle anything that comes our way. God is always faithful to us; we need to be faithful to Him. It’s not a one-way street, after all; it’s not God giving, giving, giving to us while we simply take. We’re supposed to give our all to God. That means trusting in Him, and having faith that He will see us through.
Of course, we can’t just sit back and say, “Okay, God, since You’re the Almighty and all, I’ll just let You provide the money for my bills to be paid while I sit at home and do whatever I want to do. And spend every dime I can.” Nope. We have to actually get out there and do our best to provide for ourselves and our families and, whatever is not included in the fruits of our labor, God will supply. He’s pretty awesome like that, too; I have a personal testimony to prove it! I was coming home from work one day a few years ago, trying to pay all my bills, working two jobs and still not having enough. My cupboards were pretty close to empty, my gas tank was just about on fumes, it was a week till my next paycheck, and I had bills coming due. Told God on my way home that night that I knew He would see me through. I got home, got the mail out of the box. Went inside and looked through it. Bill… junk mail… bill… bill… more junk mail… something from the mortgage company? Hmm… Opened it and – it was a check from the mortgage company for the amount that I had gone over in my escrow account! Not only could I pay for food, gas, and some bills, but there was a little left over to do something nice for me. I know that God will provide my needs, cuz He’s done it before! The great thing is, the need doesn’t have to be a financial one for God to provide it. Remembrance of facts learned on tests, patience when dealing with children, understanding when talking to a coworker or boss – whatever the need might be, God is faithful to give you what you need if you just ask Him, then allow Him to take control. He’ll come through for you – He always does!
It all comes down to faith; He’s faithful, and we need to exercise faith.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1
Finals week, this and next week… everyone is studying… Lord, please help us all to remember everything we’ve been working all semester to cram into our brains! Give us the “critical thinking” skills to be able to figure out an answer if we can’t remember the fact. Above all, help us to remember that we do all for Your glory!
“Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” I Corinthians 10:31
So lately I’ve had a lot of homework. And it’s time to make the report cards for my students. And studying for my boards more, too. Homework + report cards + boards = no time for blogging! I’ve missed it, let me tell you. So, without further ado…
Got something in the mail the other day. It was some outdoor colored bubbles from Crayola. I’d entered a giveaway on Facebook several weeks ago and was one of the 1000 people who received the free sample in the mail. Yay! I know my class will love them – whenever we finally get a warm, sunny day :).
Then I got an e-mail the next day. I’d won a book giveaway from little things + big stuff! The book is called Love and Respect, by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs. Now, I’m not married myself, but I know several people who are getting married/just got married, and this book will be perfect for one of them. It will work out well for me, too, since I have a brother to get along with, and I would like to improve my relationship with guys in general. Received it in the mail yesterday and took a few minutes to flip through it. TOTALLY gonna love this thing! I’m already contemplating change… 🙂
You know the old saying, “Things happen in threes”? Guess what? Got another e-mail later that day, from Nursetopia – I’d won a set of Dansko scrubs! Yay!
Should be getting them in the mail any time now just got them in the mail – they’re awesome!!!
I was laying there the night I’d found and responded to the e-mails, thinking, “This book is going to be awesome. I can hardly wait until I have time to read through it! I love the scrubs. Ooh, Lord, if I’m going to get something else, well, it’d be really nice to get a Keurig. Or a new Kitchenaid Stand Mixer. The big one. 7.5 qts, I think it is? *sigh* I wish…”
Then God tapped me on the shoulder. “Are you crazy? Here I am, blessing you with things you wanted (obviously, or you wouldn’t have entered the giveaways), and you’re bemoaning the fact that you didn’t win more? Be thankful for what I’ve given you!” Then He brought to mind something I’d heard before: What if you woke up tomorrow with only the things you thanked God for today?
I am blessed. Tremendously blessed. I NEVER win anything; then to win three different things, and find out within 3 days of each other? Amazing. I am going to love the book, I can already tell. And the scrubs are going to be great to wear, and much appreciated that I don’t need to go and buy as many. And the bubbles – my class will ADORE them!
Made me think; I mean, really and truly think. I have SO much more than many people I know. I have a roof over my head, more than one outfit to wear, I’m not suffering from lack of food (as anyone who knows me can easily tell 🙂 ), I have a job, and I have a career that I will get to start soon. I have a wonderful church family, a pastor that is truly anointed, a mom that is one of my best friends, a sister that is also a best friend, and a brother that loves me (even if he tries not to show it too much – lol), and other people that I count as friends. I can walk, see, hear, smell, feel, and talk. I can think clearly and for myself. I have no real addictions (other than a deep love of food) , and any health problems I do have are not nearly as debilitating as they could be; so, I have my health, too.
I have A LOT. There is no reason for me to be ungrateful. There is definitely no reason for me to be wishing for something else than what I was given. I am blessed beyond measure – pressed down, shaken together, running over blessed!
“But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.” Luke 12:48
So, according to this verse, because I am blessed, I need to give. I need to give of my time – volunteering in Sunday School, for church functions, just helping out where needed (like cleaning the bathrooms or picking up trash). Give of my talent – I’m pretty good with kids, so I should do what I can to help out there. Lots of activities, singing, crafts, etc – help those kids feel special, because they are! And, I need to give of my treasure – in this material world, it takes money to do things. In order to bring food to the hungry, it must be either donated or bought; the electricity in the church needs to be paid for; supplies need to be purchased; etc., etc., etc.
To give of what I have is only my “reasonable service (Romans 12:1).” When I give, I’m blessed even more – not because God gives me more in return for my giving, though He always makes sure I have what I need; rather, it is because giving to others – blessing others – blesses me. Seeing the face of a child light up when they learn a story about God -I am blessed. Giving someone who is hungry food for their family – I am blessed. Having the chance to clean out a storage room at the church – I am blessed. Being asked to help keep the bathrooms clean – I am blessed! Having the opportunity to serve God in any way is a blessing, because He doesn’t have to let me help. I am blessed to be used of God in any way, shape, or form; then to be given stuff from giveaways that I’d hoped for but never really expected to win? Doubly blessed!!!
I’m already so blessed, and the Lord chooses to bless me even more… how incredible is my God!
“Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.” Luke 6:38