Sunday, May 24, 2015

Remember Who You Are

In the Bible, we have read about the adulterous woman.  Jesus named her sin, called her forgiven, and sent her on her way.

But we still remember her as "the adulterous woman".

David was a man after God's own heart, but we also remember him an adulterer and a murderer.

What if we viewed Paul the same way?  What if he was still called "Pharisee of Pharisees" and "the man who persecutes the church"? 

In fact, Paul said it himself, "They only were hearing it said, 'He who used to persecute us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.'"  (Galatians 1:23)

He claimed his past in that statement.  He named what he used to do, and he named what he is currently doing, about which he wrote, "And they glorified God because of me."  

We should not look back on someone's past for any reason except to glorify God for the work He has done in them to get to their present!

In the book The Good and Beautiful God, the author writes about how Christians are "new creations":

"You know how a butterfly becomes a butterfly, I'm sure. ... The butterfly was 
once a caterpillar, a worm.  It could only crawl, and could not fly.  But it goes 
into a cocoon--a chrysalis, in which the root word, appropriately, is 'Christ'.  
And it emerges a butterfly, completely transformed.  The old has passed.  The 
new has arrived.  It was once weighed down by gravity; now it can fly.  
Christians were once under the reign of sin, but now we can live in freedom. 

And can you see why it's so painful to me that so many Christians don't understand 
this?  When I hear a Christian say, 'I'm just a sinner saved by grace,' I want to say, 
'That makes as much sense as a butterfly saying, 'I'm just a worm with wings.'"

In this day and age, it will be hard to keep the faith.  When the world wants to call you by your past, it will be harder to remember who God says you are!

For more on butterflies, read this post.  But in the meantime, when you hear the world (or the church) telling you who you are, according to your past, remember these things:

You are adopted as sons.

"He predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, 
according to the purpose of his will" (Ephesians 1:5)

You are loved.

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, 
that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."  
(John 3:16)

You are forgiven.

"In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, 
in accordance with the riches of God's grace."  (Ephesians 1:7)

You are a new creation.

"If anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has 
passed away; see, everything has become new!"  (2 Corinthians 5:17)

You are blameless.

"For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for 
those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed 
our transgressions from us.  As a father has compassion on his children, so 
the Lord has compassion on those who fear him." (Psalm 103:11-13)

Have faith in what He says...and remember who you are.

Friday, May 22, 2015

The Duggars: What's In a Name?

I had hoped to refrain from writing about the Duggars latest headlines, but I have seen so many posts lately that I feel I must at least share thoughts. 

Before I say anything else, know that I would never condone behaviors that the media has us believing has occurred. 

Now here is what I've had on my mind this week regarding the Name above all names:

We do not KNOW what Josh Duggar did.   Josh has not described in detail what he did, or to whom he did it.  And we were not there.

But...Jehovah Shammah (the Lord is there)... He was there.

A police report is shown online.  Does that make it real?  Does it make it factual?  Does it make it true?  We do not know.

But Jehova El Emeth (The Lord God of Truth)....  He knows. 

Were any of us there?  To see what see the victims come see how the family dealt with it?  We do not know any of that with certainty.

But El Roi (the God Who sees).... He saw.

Are we keeping this story at the forefront of our minds and Facebook pages because we care about the hearts of Josh Duggar, his wife, children, his sisters and family?   I've known enough rape victims in my life to know that the one thing they don't want to do is live through it AGAIN.  Yet we want to bring all of this up--which they seem to have all moved past in a healthy way--so they can all relive it.

IF there is any truth to the media's accounts, are we hoping for healing or just punishment?  If healing has come after 12 years of time, are we praising God or are we still wanting earthly consequences? 

El Kana (Jealous God).... He wants Josh's heart, the sisters' hearts, and our hearts.

Are we of such little faith that we cannot believe that God can perform a miracle in the life of a young man going down the wrong path and redeem him?  Are we of such little faith that we cannot believe that He can restore the victims in every way and restore relationships within their family?  Are we of such little faith that we no longer believe that one who repents with a pure heart can be completely transformed by a powerful God?  With man it is impossible...but WITH GOD...ALL things are possible!

El Shaddai (God Almighty) says nothing is impossible for Him!

Jehovah-Rapha (the God who Heals) can bring healing to victims.

Jehovah-M'Kaddesh (the Lord who sanctifies and makes holy) can bring forth change in a humble, repentant heart. 

Are you surprised by a story like this?  Did you expect that the Duggars would live sinless lives?  Only ONE Man has done this--Jesus.  The rest of us have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. 

Would others be surprised if your sins were laid out on a media screen? 

El Elyon (the Most High) reigns!  He is not surprised by this!

Do we believe God is love?  Do we believe He saves?  Can we put all of the past in His hands?  And when I say all...I mean all...Josh's past, my past, your past. 

And all of our past that hasn't happened yet. 

Yahweh (unchanging God) is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

I am still not condoning the behavior which the media has reported.  I just do not know if it is all true.  The police report has discrepancies (and I read all 33 pages of it), and the report I saw had a watermark for a gossip column (InTouch).  That makes me suspect of the legitimacy of what has been reported by the media.  Specifically, that it was marked as a felony, but no further action was taken by the police or those in authority.  If it included felony acts, I believe there would have been further penalty for the offender.

But no matter what we do or is done to us, there is still One on Whom we can count.  One in Whom we place our trust for daily bread and for justice in all matters.

Adonai (Lord).... 

He is the Lord our God, and He will sort it all out in the end. 

Let's leave it to Him, for He is able. 

And there...right peace...

For we know that Jehovah-Shalom (the Lord our Peace) was there all along.