Tag Archives: Repentance

Better Than ‘All or Nothing’

14 Jul

I continue to struggle with my “soft food addiction,” especially hoarding chocolate candy, cookies and other sweet things. (It’s not that I can’t ever have something sweet, but it is a dangerous area for me.)

But one Wednesday during an appointment, I told Kim, my nutritionist, “I finally got rid of all the junk food in my house.”

Kim looked surprised and pleased. “I’m so proud of you,” she said. “Was it hard?”

“No, not really,” I said. “I ATE it all!”

I’m sort of an all-or-nothing person.  Some days I’m “all in” and thriving physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Other days, not so much.

I’ve discovered one sinful habit or attitude in one area cascades into other areas, and soon I’m walking far off the righteous path the Lord has designed for me. The path of life.

It was just a little sin, I rationalize. But it still was sin if the Lord told me “no.” And all sin is continuing evidence of how much I need Him.

I love the American Dream, but for a long time I carried over the concept of independence into my walk with God.

I thought, “The more I’m independent—the less I have to call upon the Lord for help—this will be evidence of spiritual maturity.”

That couldn’t have been more foolish.

The true sign of spiritual maturity is

greater understanding of our need

and growing dependence on the Lord.

So I’m learning to step back and evaluate why I ran ahead of God … why I made a decision without consulting Him … why I lagged behind in disobedience … why I mindlessly walked through life.

It’s usually about some form of pride, selfishness, willfulness or outright rebellion. But sometimes it’s just forgetfulness. I forget how needy I truly am. 

In “performance mode,” I bounce back and forth between legalism and giving up.

In those times, I ultimately am most desperate.

But I’m learning to walk under God’s protective grace:

Observing, confessing and correcting. Not beating myself up. Moving forward in grace and trusting Him.

There is no condemnation in Christ, but there are constant opportunities to learn to depend on Him.

For everything.

Just as my silly conversation with Kim indicated, I have often made foolish choices.

But I’m learning to keep in step with the Spirit. 

How? It’s a process:

  1. Acknowledge – I admit your errors and mistakes; confess my sins. (Again, this is not a matter of beating myself up!)
  2. Accept – I receive the forgiveness I have in Christ.
  3. Allow – I let God’s grace flood over me, encouraging me; I remember what Christ has done for me!
  4. Adjust – I correct my thoughts, attitudes and behavior. It’s a matter of becoming obedient to God’s Word and will, and walking in the Spirit afresh. It’s a walk in freedom!

All-or-nothing? No.

The better perspective is ALL-IN-ALL.

This song expresses what’s in my heart as I think about this today:

“You are my strength when I am weak.

You are the treasure that I seek.

You are my all in all.”

(“You Are My All in All,” sung here

by David Phelps/Gaither Vocal Band.)

Jesus wants to be my Everything.

And I sincerely want that too. Even when I stray. Even when I mess up.

I want to be a woman after God’s own heart.

Why? I’m learning He is my strength, my wisdom, my victory, my only hope and so much more.

Is this your heart too? Is Jesus your “all in all?

 

Advertisements

Fragrance or Stink: What Do You Smell Like?

1 Oct

A woman, trying to control her dry hair, treated her scalp with olive oil before washing it. But then, worried the oil might oliveoil_margenauer_pixabaylinger, she washed her hair several times.

That night, as she went to bed, she leaned over to her husband and asked, “Do I smell like olive oil?”

“No,” he said, sniffing her.

“Do I smell like Popeye?” *

I once read that if you lick your wrist and wait 10 seconds, and then smell your wrist… that’s what your breath smells like!

Is that true? Oh wait … Yikes!

There are sweet smells and offensive smells, right?

  • The smell of a newborn baby (minus a soiled diaper).
  • The smell of old books.
  • The smell of exotic perfume.
  • The smell of a bakery.
  • The smell of a wet dog.
  • The smell of honeysuckle vines.
  • The smell of an angry skunk.

But the smell I’m considering today is the aroma that lingers from my attitudes. 

Even if you are not aware of it, you are leaving behind a fragrance wherever you go.

Encouraging, godly attitudes will bless others, but when our attitudes “stink,” it will affect everyone around us in negative ways.

Although sin grievously affects us personally, we don’t sin unto ourselves—others are affected. Our “stink” can rub off on others! One example is the stinky attitude that comes from an unforgiving, bitter attitude that “defiles many” (Hebrews 12:15).

The story is told of an old homeless man, taken in by a God-fearing couple who wanted to help him. They took him home where he showered and cleaned up. But then he put on his old, dirty, stinky clothes! He didn’t realize the loving couple had laid out fresh, clean clothes for him.

This is what we Christians do sometimes. We are “washed” by the Lord when He rescues us and makes us His own (1 Corinthians 6:11; Ephesians 5:26) and God wraps us in a robe of righteousness (Isaiah 61:10); but then we keep righteousrobe_stinkygarments_lolwithgodputting old “stinky” garments over that robe!

Our hearts are changed, but we still resort to stinky thinking patterns that lead to stinky actions.

When tempted to put on those stinky attitudes, we need to lay them down and pick up the attitudes the Holy Spirit has “laid out” for us.

What are these attitudes?

Sweet-smelling attitudes arise from the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and goodness (Galatians 5:22-23). They include behavior that shows we have become “partakers of the divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4-7).

And our thoughts help us focus on these attitudes. We need thoughts that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, praiseworthy (Philippians 4:8). We need to think these kinds of things and practice sweet-smelling habits that flow from those thoughts.

We all sin. Every day. If we say we don’t, we’re deceiving ourselves (1 John 1:8). But that doesn’t mean we cozy down with our sins. We should hate our sin as God does, and confess it to Him in repentance (1 John 1:9) so we can move forward in His grace to thoughts, words and behaviors that please Him (Ephesians 5:8-10; 2 Corinthians 5:9; Romans 12:1-2).

We need a “daily washing” to make sure the aroma of Christ is what lingers, wherever we go and in every situation;

“For we are the sweet fragrance of Christ [which ascends] to God, [discernible both] among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing” (2 Corinthians 2:15, Amp).

King David, after committing terrible sin, cried out to God, “Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity [wickedness], and cleanse me from my sin!” (Psalm 51:2). In essence, David was saying, “Scrub me clean. Soak out my sinful attitudes and actions, and let me be pure again.”

Determine that your aroma will be the fragrance of Christ, not the stink of sin!

How can you know what “aroma” emanates from YOUR life? By others’ reactions and responses? Through the conviction of the Holy Spirit? From the Word of God?

from * Adapted from The Cybersalt Digest, Issue #4177, 9-1-16

~ Dawn

Dig a Little Deeper

28 May

A pirate captain was out to retrieve his buried treasure. After months of hard sailing his ship caught site of land, the land to Pirate_DugganArts_Morguefilewhich his treasure map had been leading. He and his first mate disembarked on the island to search out the buried treasure, which was supposed to lie hidden deep with in a swamp at the center of the island.

Sure enough, at the center of the island was a swamp, and the Captain and his first mate bravely entered the swamp. Soon the swamp began to get deeper, and the pirate’s feet, then ankles, and finally entire leg below the knees was covered in swamp.

It was at that time that the Captain banged his shin against something hard. He reached down, searched around, and pulled up a treasure chest. Prying the lock open, the chest revealed gold and jewels beyond imagination.

The Captain turned to his first mate and said, “Arrrr, matey, that just goes to show ye—booty is only shin deep!” *

LOL!

I am forever indebted to my Chemistry teacher who inspired me when I, as a high school sophomore, told him I “hated” chemistry.

“Dig a little deeper, Dawn,” he told me. I doubt he’d remember that quick statement, but it sure stuck with me!

At this point I can’t help but sing Disney’s catchy tune, “Dig a Little Deeper” from Disney’s “Princess and the Frog.”

But I digress.

Back to chemistry … I DID dig a little into my chemistry book and actually learn to ENJOY class—well, except for that time I almost blew up the chem lab.

I carry my teacher’s wise advice with me to this day.

Whether I’m struggling with trying to understand something about my computer, or trying to figure out how to conquer my gardening “black thumb,” I’ve discovered “digging” into the subject not only gives me answers and new strategies for learning and applying knowledge, it also deepens my appreciation for the topic.

In other words, I’m digging for hidden treasure, and loving what I find.

Case in point. One of the tough things for me has always been trying to figure out what made the Old Testament prophets tick—why God had them write such tough words, and if they had any meaning at all for me. So I plodded through Ezekiel and Micah and the other prophets, wondering why I struggled so much understanding them. In fact, at one point I gave up and started avoiding these prophets and their tough messages.

Big mistake. God wants us to know ALL of His Word.

But remembering my chemistry teacher’s words, I dug a little deeper, looking for the buried treasure in these Old Testament books. What did that look like?

  • First, I had to ask myself, “Do you even understand what prophecy means?” That was enlightening.
  • Then I started examining related history and geography. (I checked out some archaeology and looked at maps.)
  • I considered the different cultures represented.
  • I trudged through the boring repetitiveness in some chapters—they don’t all have a smooth “story line”—and eventually realized some texts were poems, conversationssermons or warnings to God’s people.
  • And I also asked if these books were all just “ancient history,” or if God had messages for ME in these books. (Yes, He did, especially concerning sin.)

As I read, studied and “dug in,” I realized I often had the same issues God’s people were judged for: phony religious attitudes, a rebellious heart, idolatry (things I put before the Lord), hard-hearted disobedience, ingratitude, selfishness, etc.

(Here are just a few examples of God’s “issues” with Israel: Exodus 32:2-10; 2 Kings 17:7-8; Nehemiah 9:13-17; Psalm 78:39-42, 59-62; Ezekiel 16:15-59; Hosea 1:1-2; Amos 9:8; Hebrews 3:8-11.)

And I found, God doesn’t take any lack of repentance lightly—theirs or mine.

I also discovered God calls His chosen ones to return to Him, be revived and restored, and enter into His rest (Nehemiah 1:9; Isaiah 55:7; Jeremiah 4:1-2; 15:19-20; 24:7; Hosea 6:1, 14:1; Joel 2:13; Zechariah 1:3)

Part of the treasure I uncovered in comparing scriptures:

Many of the Old Testament prophecies of the Messiah were fulfilled in Jesus (with others to be fulfilled in the future Kingdom).

And that is what amazed me and brought me new JOY! As I was digging deeper in the Old Testament, I kept seeing the Lord—I kept seeing Jesus. He is the Redeemer, the great King, the mediator of a better covenant and more.

I would have missed deep treasures if I’d decided studying prophecy was too hard … if I hadn’t started “digging.”  

  • Is there something physical you hate to do? — Would digging into benefits of exercise or better nutrition help?
  • Is there some emotional struggle or mental confusion? — Would digging into the “why” of your feelings and thoughts—with the Word of God in hand—clear some of these things up?
  • Are there any spiritual questions that put you off a bit? — Would digging into some apologetics (in a book or online) give you a better foundation for thinking biblically?

Try to dig a little deeper. Ask the Lord to show you amazing treasures you might not find otherwise.

– *Buried Treasure Humor – Cybersalt 

– Graphic: Pirate, DugganArts, Morguefile

– Dawn

%d bloggers like this: