Slowing Life Down

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A New Journey

A new journey will soon begin in our lives, one where we are deeply seeking to leave the fast paced world behind us and seek a slower life where we can connect with God’s beautiful creation on a daily basis.  We are both excited and nervous about what the future holds.  Yet, we know that God wants us to want less and seek him more.  So, we are on a mission to have and need less in our lives.  (FYI- Everything is for sale).  The next phase of our lives will be to let more of the worldly things go and seek God in his creation.  “For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.” 1 Colossians 1:16.

Why?

Why?  Some people do ask us about our decision to explore God’s world.  We feel a deep calling to let the hustle and bustle of this world go and seek the beauty while we are able.  There will always be time to work and we will continue to world remotely as we can, but we know that this is the time for us to go.  We have watched God work over the past several months to ensure our decision is the right one.  We have followed the path God laid before us when we were young and we have been blessed. Our careers have been fulfilling, our children are grown and independent and moving on with their lives.  We are proud of the young women they have become and their hearts for the Lord.  We have followed the path God laid before us so long ago when we met back in 1986.  “You have made known to me the paths of life; you will make me full of gladness with your presence.’”  Acts 2:28.

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Peaceful/Slower Life

Today we feel a calling to a more peaceful life where we are in control of our destiny and day to day life.  Where we can seek the peace of God more diligently each and every day.  “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.”  1 Timothy 2:1-2.  Although, we have made the decision to this by traveling either by water or land, each of us can slow down and live a life that is more focused on God and less on the worldly things of this world.  Dive into prayer and seek your Father.  “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7.

Closing Verse:  “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6.

Challenge: Seek a slower more peaceful life and don’t miss out on God each and every day.

Sometimes There Are No Words…

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Mourning

This week has been a hard week and I know that I have words to write but they are just not ready to come, so I wait on God just as I have done this past week.  I have waited for God to call my mother in law home and into his glory.  I pause to mourn the woman who brought my best friend and life partner into this world.  She went home this week, and I am so happy that she with her Lord and Savior.  Yet, I am sad that she is gone from this earth.  So, I must take a moment to celebrate and mourn her.

Sherry Benfield Long – June 5, 2018

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Closing Verse:  “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” Revelation 21:4

Challenge:  Spend each day loving others and living life because it is far too short.  We will miss you Sherry.

MY MOM

As I mourn the passing of Sherry, today I celebrate my Mom and her birthday.  I am blessed to have a Mom who has taught and loved me into the woman I am today.  Thank you for all you have done!  Happy Birthday!

 

Time…Part 2

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Wasting Time

As I write this I am in one of those situations where I stop and think this thought:  (I am losing four hours of my life that I can not get back!). As I endure the slow passage of time, I write and ponder how much time I waste in my life.  “Making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.”, Ephesians 5:16-17.  Sometimes I am responsible for my own loss of time.  My bad choices lead to wasting time when better use of my time was in order.  Then again, sometimes I am just stuck in a situation out of my control where my time gets wasted!  Both are frustrating, and I call to God to show me how to manage and control time better in my life.  Yet, no matter what I lean including scriptures like Romans 8:28, ” And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”

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Social Media (Connect to Part 1)

A few weeks ago I posted another blog on time where social media was a focus.  Since that post the conversations I have had about social media and wasting time have been quite eye opening for both myself and others.  I have found myself wasting time multiple times this way.  This piece really hit home for many people.  One discussion was about how social media effects our children and their time and learning.  Something to ponder.  “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,” 2Timothy #:16.   What I can say is that I have become much more conscientious of my time and social media use.  I actually believe I am finding some more time in my life!  Here is my reminder put the phone down and live life a little more.

Time for Good

One definite change I learned from my first post is that God needed more time from my life, so I made some changes.  I am getting up earlier sometimes going to bed later, while reorganizing and restructuring my time.  Although, I still have to think specifically about my new routines until they become more habitual, yet I know I am headed in the right direction.  My time is turning more to good and God.  I must be conscientious and specific with my time, and planning some social media fasting in my future.  How About You?  “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”  Matthew 5:16.

Closing Verse:  “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men,” Colossians 3:23.

Challenge:  How much time do you waste in a day?  How much time do you lose from your life?

#WatchGod

This past week my prayers have changed to ask the Lord to help this person through some struggles that have come into his/her life.  Although, the weekend brought fun times and family the struggle for the family was still there.  I know that he/she is leaning on the Lord and my prayers are that his arms are felt.  I pray for more smiles in the week to come.  I have finished up my 30 days but this person will find a permanent spot in my prayer life.  May God Bless!

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Time…

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Importance of Time

“We all start out in life with one thing in common; We all have the same amount of time. It’s just a matter of what we do with it.”  This quote by Harvey Mackay has me thinking some about the importance of time and how I use my time.  Each day, week , and month, I find myself often wondering where time went, so I decided to analyze my time for one typical day.  Many of these items overlap but it is still eye-opening.  “Making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.”  Ephesians 5:16.

 

 

What I do? How much Time I spend?
Quiet Time with God 25 mins
Me Time 15 mins
Family (including screen time) 4 hrs 20 mins
Work without Screen Time 3 hrs and 45 mins
Work with Screen Time 12 hrs and 20 mins
Social Media 2 hrs and 10 mins
Exercise 50 mins

*All times are rounded off and generalized.

What do I see?  I work too much and spend too much time in front of a screen whether work or personal.  What I say is important just does not look that important in my life.  An obvious adjustment would be to disconnect from devices.  So my question to anyone reading this is how important is time and how should our time be distributed.  Take some time to analyze your day.

Social Media

Although, I can honestly say that I am not an overly active social media user.  I do spend time scrolling, some might call it “trolling”, social media.  Most of my online activity is on Twitter and blogging.  Otherwise I am just scrolling and viewing others.  Now that I type this it seems sad because it really is a waste of my time to scroll social media apps.  Could I do without it?  My immediate answer is yes!  “Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.”  James 4:14.

Taking the time to analyze how I use my time really makes me realize how using social media and/or other various apps can become an addiction.  I started thinking about my time after finding this video on Facebook of all places.  Yet, It has caused me to think about my time and what my mind and life could be without so much influence and addition.

 

This video causes me to wonder whether screen time is an idol in our society.  At what point does using social media and other apps move from productive to addictive and fall into idol status. “Those who pay regard to vain idols forsake their hope of steadfast love.” Jonah 2:8.

What Does the Bible Say About Time?

1 For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
2 a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
3 a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
4 a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
5 a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
6 a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
7 a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
8 a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.       
I need to use my time living life not watching it pass by…
Closing Verse:  “So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.” Psalms 90:12
Challenge:  I definitely want to challenge you to take on the challenge of becoming social media free for a determined amount of time.  I am definitely accepting the challenge from the video in June!
#WatchGod:  This week my prayers continue to provide a work environment where things are booming.  Viewing social media, how ironic!, I see this person is spending more time with friends and nature.  I pray this is a calling from God and he is speaking more deeply in his/her life.

Write Your Story

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Life’s Story

My most recent morning devotions have been about loving and building relationship with God while writing your story.  I do not mean pen to paper but writing a life story.  We all have one but how we tell it is what separates us from each other.  Some tell their story with addictions and lack of self-worth,  some based on their job and how others view their work, Some are depressed and lost, but I want to tell my story through my relationship with my Savior.  Even so it is much easier to type my story than to live it. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17.

Following God’s Path

I stop to think about my Life Story.  Each month is a chapter that leads to each year which separates my life into sections.   Looking backwards at my story,  I can see God working and moving in my life just as I can see when I tried to take control of my life and not follow his path.  For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”  Jeremiah 29:11.  It is obvious when I am following God’s plan and everything seems so smooth and then I grab the reins and muck everything up in my life.  Writing a living breathing story of relationship can be hard, but the reflection of this story is in a marriage.

Marriage: The Example

Marriage is ordained by God and he established the union as a reflection of Christ and his bride the church.  Christ who loves me unconditionally and sacrificed his life for me on the cross.  “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her,” Ephesians 5:25. Christ set the example not just for marriage but for the deeper relationship he calls me into with him.  My relationship with Christ must come first even before my marriage, but sets the example for my relationship within my marriage and how that portion of my Life Story should be written.  “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” Genesis 2:4.

Closing Verse: “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” 1 Corinthians 13: 4-7.

Challenge: Write Your Life Story

#WatchGod – Week One Update

I began my challenge last week to pray for someone for 30 days.  God has been working this past week in this persons life especially in their job.  Their job is exploding and smiles are abundant.  Praise God!  I pray that God will work even more deeply in this person’s life. “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4.

#WatchGod

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Loving Others

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.” John 13:34.  I am beginning a May Challenge that I read about recently,  and will be sharing my journey each week in my blog post.  I am sharing the challenge now hoping that readers will join me and share their experiences with me and others.  I want to hear what happens!  So……

Challenge

Here is the Challenge:

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Choosing Someone to Love

As a sidenote, I keep prayer cards one for each person that I pray for each day.  This is a tip I learned in a life group reading and discussing the book, A Praying Life by Paul L. Miller.  I feel lead to choose someone not on my prayer cards.  This might have been the greater challenge because I have a lot of prayer cards!

I looked around me at others who touch my life for that person that God was calling me towards.  That person who needed something, and then God place him/her in front of me.  “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” Mark 11:24.

Challenge Begins

I begin my 30 days of prayer for this person today.  “Pray without ceasing,” 1 Thessalonians 5:17.  I can not wait to share what I see God doing in his/her life each week!  If you accept this challenge please share what God is doing through your prayer life for this person.  Join Me in #WatchGod.

Closing Verse:   1 John 4:19-21 “We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.”

Challenge: Ask God to provide someone for you to spend 30 days praying for.  #WatchGod

Life Happens and God Draws Near

Brokenness

Coffee is brewing and the warm smell fills the room and I want to linger here in the presence of my Father.  He is calling me and I have not been listening.  I have been avoiding, living my own life, believing I was still in relationship with him only to find myself afraid, alone, and on my knees.  “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18.  I know I have not been listening, but God has my attention.  I know that he held my life before me and called me back to him.  I am here in your presence once again, not pretending to be whole, but broken and needy.  “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”  Psalm 147:3.  I am binding my wounds.

Self-Righteous

Who have I been?  I have been a selfish, self-righteous person, yet Romans 3:10 reads, “As it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one;”   I have not put others first, I have failed to not just be strong in myself, but allowed myself to wallow in self-pity.  I see all the ugliness inside of me.  Who did I think I was?  Did I feel I was better than others?  Did I forget to walk in others shoes?  How did I find my way back to this place?  I know I have allowed Satan a crack into my life and he encouraged me to think only about myself.  Why did God choose to bring me out of this pit?  I feel the weight of my selfishness lifting off of me as God is showing me my lack of relationship with him and begins to heal the brokenness.  “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” Psalm 51:17.

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Broken Vessel

Walking along in my selfish life, I suddenly found myself in a situation that was like deja vu deep from my past.  Where did that ugly person come from?  This person that I thought was lost suddenly emerged like a monster from the dark.  Yet, probably not as suddenly as it seemed.  Recently, I have been a “Debbie Downer”.  I have been a self-righteous pompous person.  So finding myself selfishly raising my ugly head like a monster in the dark may have seemed sudden, but now I see that I was racing down a path of destruction. The humiliation means I want to hide, but I know that I have to move forward.  Although, the pain that comes with seeing my selfishness hurts deeply, it has been nothing like facing the emptiness where God should be in my life.  It is nothing like knowing he could choose to take my life with each breath, but has chosen to hold my beating heart in his hands.

My heart is broken because I have broken the most important person in my life.  I alone have created deep pain and sorrow that is hard to forgive.  I have hurt my husband deeply and that pain is like no other pain.  I imagine that the pain God has felt is much the same, watching his son hang upon the cross for my sins.   Words and sometimes even actions can not repair such damage, but I pray that our relationship can weather the storm.  Romans 5:1-5 promises me, “Father, we feel the burden of our sin, and it is exhausting to try and make ourselves whole.  Our hearts long for your presence.  We rejoice in our sufferings, know that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope.”  I am a broken vessel… (a few lyrics from a powerful song)

Broken Vessels

You take our failures, You take our weakness
You set Your treasure in jars of clay
So take this heart Lord, I’ll be your vessel
The world to see Your life in me

Oh, I can see You now
Oh, I can see the love in Your eyes.
Laying Yourself down
Raising up the broken to life

“But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.”  Corinthians 4:7

(1° Broken Vessels – 00:00 2° Touch The Sky – 09:32 3° Say The Word – 13:55 4° Heart Like Heaven – 18:19 5° Closer Than You Know – 24:49 6° Even When It Hurts – 33:34 7° Oceans – 39:52 8° Love Is War – 48:48 9° Captain – 56:05)

Worthy

As I contemplate my sin and move toward Christ, I realize that I am worthy in God’s eyes.  I feel God drawing near to me and feeling his strength now I can see where my focus should be.  First and foremost I need to focus on him and ensure he is the priority in my life.  “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.”  James 4:8.  So I seek his presence in prayer and in my daily walk.  I think of others before myself.  I smile so others might smile.  I seek the happiness in my life that is my choice and no one else.  I trust in God.  “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”  Proverbs 3:5-6.  I am focusing on my heart once again in order to put my Father first in my life.

My Worth Is Not What I Own 

Two wonders here that I confess
My worth and my unworthiness
My value fixed – my ransom paid
At the cross

I rejoice in my Redeemer,
Greatest Treasure,
Wellspring of my soul

Closing Verse: “But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

Challenge:  Protect Your Heart.

Blessings

We pray for blessings 
We pray for peace 
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep 
We pray for healing, for prosperity 
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering 
All the while, You hear each spoken need 
Yet love is way too much to give us lesser things 

Prayers

Funny how when life just seems crazy and full that a simple song will remind me to stop and get my priorities in order.  What is the best way to get my priorities in order than to find myself on my knees in prayer.  Prayer is one of those really personal times when I connect with my Father and share my life with Him.  I share both the blessings and the struggles.  I share my physical and emotional needs and for God to hear even the unspoken prayers in my heart.  As I listened to the song, I really began to think about my prayer life and my relationship with Him.  He promises to provide for all my needs, but sometimes I do not see my needs the way He does.

“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you

will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will

put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?

Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns,

and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more

value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour

to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing?

Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin,

yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these…”

Matthew 6:  25-34

We pray for wisdom 
Your voice to hear 
We cry in anger when we cannot feel You near 
We doubt your goodness, we doubt your love 
As if every promise from Your Word is not enough 
And all the while, You hear each desperate plea 
And long that we’d have faith to believe 

Alone

I do pray for wisdom, but not just for me but those around me, for those leading me, and for those who are struggling to know and feel God in their lives.  Sometimes I feel like he is not near.  I feel abandoned and alone, yet I know that He is listening to my cries.  This is when my faith is tested.  I cling to the Word and its truths.  “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”  John 1:1.  I read and remember the promises made in the Word.  I strengthen my faith, find my priorities, and feel his blessings by turning to prayer and His Word.  “But he said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!” Luke 11:28.

‘Cause what if your blessings come through raindrops 
What if Your healing comes through tears 
What if the thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near 
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise 

Jesus, My Example

Remembering that he did not promise that our lives would be perfect and easy in this walk.  Jesus who is my example did not walk an easy road.  “For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.” Hebrews 2:18.  As a Christian I have to look for the Lord in the trials, the tears, the raindrops, and even the sleepless nights. These are the times when I do need and feel him close to me.  “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”  Proverbs 3:5-6

When friends betray us 
When darkness seems to win 
We know the pain reminds this heart 
That this is not, this is not our home 

Heaven

Even when the trials seem to be winning and the darkness in this world begins to cover my light, I long for my home resting in the arms of my Lord and Savior.  “In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?” John 14:2.  I long for the peace that he will give me.  I long for the rest that will come when I walk along side him in heaven. ‘And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”’  Luke 23:43.

What if my greatest disappointments 
Or the aching of this life 
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy 
What if trials of this life 
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights 
Are your mercies in disguise

Blessings

The great reminder that this song, “Blessings” by Laura Story,  provides for me is found in Romans 8:28, ” And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”  I believe that even the disappointments, the aches, and the hardest nights are providing me with a thirst for a life beyond this world by providing “mercies in disguise”.

Closing Verse:  “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”  2 Timothy 4:7.

Challenge:  Get your priorities straight and seek the Lord.

 

Loss of Innocence

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Loss of Innocence: 

Today is Valentine’s Day and a day that should be filled with loving those you have been blessed to live life with,  but I sit and watch the sadness of another school shooting.  Deep down in my soul I ache and cry for the innocent lives lost and the innocent lives scarred once again.  As a public school educator, my heart is breaking.  I hold the tears back and just wish that I could make the world a better place for every child.  I look back on this year and the loss of two young lives in my community who chose to take their own life to end the pain deep in their soul that could not be filled.  I find myself once again praying hard for the students that I love each day who just need someone to say good morning, call their name, and make them feel important, put clothes on their back, and food in their bellies.  I pray as 1 Thessalonians 5:17 teaches, “Pray without ceasing,”  God has blessed me with  the privilege of watching children struggle and bloom, yet either way I walk in a world where children just have different lives.  I ask the questions Why?  But I already know the answers.

Loving thru the Darkness:

I watch the news coverage of the shooting, and again I ask Why?  Why God is there so much darkness in the world?  Then I remember that Man made the choice that brought sin into this world, and no one is immune from the darkness and pain that sin brings not even an innocent child.  Genesis 2:17 explains, “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”  It is hard, so hard to watch the lives of so many children, and it is hard to accept the loss of young lives cut so short in their prime.  To know their dreams, their families dreams are shattered in one brief moment, yet I feel so blessed each day to go to work and serve children.  My prayer has always been that I am a catalyst that brings some hope, love, and joy to their lives.  I pray to God that I am an example of your love for these children you have placed in my life and that I am able to touch their lives each day, each month, each year.  As 1 John 2:6 reads, “Whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.” May my walk show Christ.

Walking in the Light

“Walking in the light may sting a little, but it is far preferable to life in the dark.  And on top of that, it is the only way to healing.”   -Jared Wilson.  I read this quote at church on Sunday morning and it just resonated with me.  I have been searching the scriptures this week and seeking the light in the darkness of our world because scripture is clear in 1 John 1:5, “This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.”  To walk in the light is to walk with the Lord.  God’s light is the one true light that can bring healing into my life, my students lives, and our world.  A world that is hurting and in need of so much healing light.  “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”Psalm 147:3.  I know that seeking the light will bring healing in the darkness.   2 Corinthians 4:6, ‘For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.’

Following the Light.

When my heart is broken from the darkness of the world, I seek healing in the light and I find comfort in his word.  “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”  Psalm 119:105.  These words of light written so long ago in such a different time, but yet so relevant today because God knew that the darkness would never leave and his people would need to continue to seek the light.  Comfort is what his word brings to my life.  I pray for a country that will heal in the words of 2 Corinthians  1:3-4 and bring comfort to others, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”  I pray that I can bring comfort into the world or at least the lives of the children I love each day.  Ephesians 5:8, “For at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light.”

Closing Verse:  ‘Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”‘ John 8:12

Challenge:  Do you find yourself in the darkness?  Does the pain of the world seem hard?  Seek the light of Christ for your life, so you can Be the Light for someone else who needs to find their way out of the darkness.

 

Seeing Sin Through Rose-Colored Glasses

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Life of Sin

I know I want to write this post but my mind and fingers just can’t find the words to type what I feel deep down inside.  Although, I know that I am born a sinner and will die a sinner, as a Christian, I do strive to be an example of Christ’s love to others.  This means not letting sin shine from me but allowing Christ to shine the brightest in my life. But, sometimes sin can really bring me down into the trenches of life.  I know that my flesh is sin as Galatians 5: 19-21 states, “Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”  I want to shine, but I find myself buried in the guilt of sin, and in need of some time with my Father to seek myself again.  To know that I am loved and forgiven.  This is hard when I feel like unconditional love should not belong to me anymore.  I don’t want to deceive myself, but recognize my sins, cleanse myself, and as 1 John 1: 8-10 reads not believe that I am not a sinner, “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.”

Rose-Colored Sin  

Knowing that I am a sinner and a Christian, my eyes are open to my sin.  I can not be a Christian who appears better than others, who does not understand others, and one who believes less of others.  Galatians 5:16 reminds me, “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.”  I know that I am blessed to walk with my Lord and Savior through life and I pray that I am an example to others, but I can’t do that if I am looking at my sin through rose-colored glasses.  I can’t compare my sin and believe it is less than others.  Sin is sin.  My sin can not be sugar-coated or viewed differently than others.  “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,”  Romans 3:23.  I know wearing rose-colored glasses to look at my life is easy to do.  I want to see how good I am and not the sin.  It is easy to compare myself to others and believe the lie that I am better, but I know deep inside that I am not.

God’s Word

So what does one do, dig and dig and dig into God’s Word and know that He is my Father.  Yes, He is a Father of wrath, but his is also a Father of forgiveness.  God provided me a gift through the sacrifice of his Son.  A gift of forgiveness that I can not even fathom.  Just thinking of this sacrifice makes my eyes water and tears fall.  “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  Romans 6:23.  and “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9.  I search scripture to cleanse myself of unrighteousness and seek the comfort of His word for forgiveness.  I find myself on my knees with head bowed praying and begging for the forgiveness and love of my Father.  Thank you Lord for your gift, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” John 3:16-17

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Sin Scriptures for Study

Closing Verse:  “So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.”  James 4:17

Challenge: Look closely at your life and ensure that you don’t perceive your sin differently from others.  Sin is Sin and the rose-colored glasses will not change it in God’s eyes.