As I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my friends to keep
Give them peace and joy tonight
And sweet dreams till the morning light
When wake they all from their rest
I pray the Lord, help them do their best
Give them strength to do what’s right
Help them lean on Your great might
And when the day draws to an end
I’ll pray for you again, my friends.
God bless you! I love you all – whether I know your name or not, God loves you, and because He does, I do, too!
It’s been three years. I know that he is in Paradise. I know that he no longer has pain, or his sugar going too low, and no more worries about his heart. I know he gets to listen to and join in the praises to Jesus every day. But I still miss him.
The man I called “Dad” was not related to me by blood. He married my mom when I was 18. I had very firm ideas of what should and shouldn’t be, and I made it very difficult at times for him, I know. But that didn’t change his love towards me, or his acceptance of me as his daughter. Our relationship grew very close over the years. At times, we were angry with each other, and at times, we were so in sync with each other’s thoughts that we knew exactly what the other would say. He taught me, just like a father should. I learned how to check my oil and transmission fluid from him. I learned a lot about salesmanship from him. I learned a whole lot more than that, too. He was a wonderful husband to my mom – she loved him so very much, and still does. I know that he loved her, too. I think that was one of the things I loved and appreciated about him most – how he loved my mom.
I didn’t know him growing up; I was graduated from high school and going to college when I met him. But, he helped me to grow up. Like most teenagers, I thought I knew it all, and didn’t hesitate to share my opinions. He wasn’t perfect – I know he had little patience with my strongly-held and stubborn opinions, but he tried his best and did what he could to help me understand. He helped shape who I am today.
I still remember the shock of finding out that he was gone. The sorrow of knowing he was no longer able to share time with us here on earth. But then I think about the fact that he got to see Jesus face to face before I did. He doesn’t have to watch the things going on in this world, because he’s already in Heaven. He already graduated to real life, and we’re all still here, plugging along, learning how to live before we get to Opening Night.
I will never forget you, Dad. I love you, and I miss you. I’m so grateful for the time I got to spend with you. I am so very thankful that you accepted me into your family. I am, and will always be, proud to call myself your daughter, and glad that I get to call you, “Dad.”
This song was going through my head:
“Look what the Lord has done!
Look what the Lord has done!
He healed my body! He touched my mind!
He saved me just in time!
I’m gonna praise His Name!
He’s every day the same!
I’m gonna praise Him!
I’m gonna praise Him!
Look what the Lord has done!”
No matter what’s going on – good, bad, ugly, whatever – God is good! I’m so very thankful for a God that is in control, that can see the past, present, and future, and has promised to always work out things for good (Romans 8:28)!
Life is like a jigsaw puzzle – we can only see the one little piece that applies to us, and maybe the pieces immediately surrounding us – but God can see the big picture, and He alone knows what the end product is supposed to look like. What an incredible Lord and Savior!
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.”