Confession

Confession.  The word alone conjures up images of a darkened booth with a priest sitting on the other side of a window-type screen; filled with hushed tones and shame.

Why are we so afraid to go bold with confessing our sins when we already know that by doing so will allow that particular burden to be lifted off of our shoulders?

Do we believe for an instant that we are capable of hiding our sins from an all-knowing and an all-seeing Creator?

There’s quite a bit of shame involved, I understand.  I’ve been there.  We strive to do our very best to please God but often those attempts fall flat and we fail miserably.

But guess what?  He still loves us regardless of our numerous shortcomings.  That is what a loving God does!  How awesome is that!  So go boldly before the throne.

1 John 1:9 explains it clearly, “If we confess our sins, He  is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Now that is some great news, my friends!

 

 

 

 

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When God is Silent

All my life I’ve been clinging to the hope of God and His existence.  Deep down I am fully aware that there is something greater than myself; than all of us; alive and in control of this infinite universe.  Death has had its fair grip on me for decades; what will it be like, how much pain, and will I still exist afterwards?  I believe in a God that is omnipotent and unending.  As a child I’d play church(not too many kids out there playing church, I imagine).  We had this half-shell knick knack with Jesus on the cross attached to it and I’d put water in the shell and pretend it was holy water, dabbing it onto my forehead just like I saw my parents and others do in the Catholic church we attended.

Having Aspergers, I just felt closer to the existence of some higher power; something or someone I could look up to and have a sense of peace over.  I’ve read somewhere women with Aspergers have a unique pull to the divine.  I have a thirst for Truth, to know wrong from right, to understand others and what they are going through.  I want to grasp why some people are good and others are seen as evil.  What turns a person from light to darkness?  What snaps inside?

Peace within is a blessing.  But when we seek answers from an almighty Being, we expect answers, and fast.  We don’t want to wait.  From experience there were, and still are, frustrating circumstances in my life that needle the flesh.  Why does this person act this way?  Why don’t I feel closer to the ones I love?  Why do I keep getting rejected in places that preach about love and acceptance?  My ear is attuned to his anticipated reply.  But I cannot sense any forthcoming. Then the fear and doubts set in.  Is God truly out there?  Does he even care about me and my concerns?  Now I’m drawing into myself again.  I’m screaming within, Help me, God!  Why aren’t you listening?  Do you even love me?

As a believer, fear of God no longer loving you is like a baseball bat to the face.  It’s like trying to breathe underwater.  Crying helps, a bit.  But after the tears, the cursing(yes, the cursing), the pleading, I can take a deep breath and refocus.  Peace surrounds me once again.  God isn’t intimidated by your little outbursts.  He knows you intimately since he created you.  His love for you is eternal.  When God is silent, I believe he is testing us and our faith.  Do we trust in him or not?  He swoops in to rescue us and our dwindling faith.

He is good and merciful to his children, and knows us all by name.  God has not abandoned you but continually longs to have a place in our hearts and thoughts.  Talk to him today.  He is waiting.

Death – The Great Unknown

Okay, here’s a topic which most of us are uncomfortable discussing. And for good reason; who wants to talk about their own death? But the conclusion that I’ve come to is: I don’t want a wake or funeral. As an Aspie and an Introvert, I do not want people looking at me and saying inane things like, “Doesn’t she look like she’s just sleeping?” or “What a nice job they did on her makeup.” I don’t have anything against anyone who wants these things, but it’s not for me. Are you listening, my dear family?

There’s something highly uncomfortable about friends and family standing around me, commenting on my appearance and reminiscing about my life. Can you just throw one big celebration party and leave it at that? Please? No open coffin. No crying. No expensive coffins. None. Zilch. Zip. Nada. I don’t want people crying over me. As a believer, I don’t think that death is the end. That my spirit will live on. When I was a child, the thought of death terrified me to the point that I had trouble falling asleep. I thought about the blackness of the grave. About no thoughts and dreams. No more existence. But I don’t dwell on those thoughts because I feel that death is not the end. Okay, enough of that.

Anyway, I had this as an on-going conversation with a Facebook group. And there were plenty of responses. We need to think about our death sometimes. Because in so doing we learn to appreciate the little things in life; sunrises and sunsets, puppies and kittens, and the contagious laughter of little children. There are other things important in life, of course, but my point is we only have a certain amount of days on this earth and that we need to treasure each one. And make time for family and friends. We don’t know how much time they have either. The sad reality is that there are too many people out there who live with regret because they couldn’t or didn’t find time to spend with the ones they loved.

So there you have it. Do not waste any money on me, family. Remember the good times, have one hell of a party, and please don’t cry. Where I believe I’m going is a far, far better place. What do you all believe about death?

Going Back to My Christian Roots

The Word of God endures forever. It cannot be destroyed. Those in Third-World nations hunger for it. Fellow believers long for a copy of the Bible for themselves. They sit on wooden benches in hot, stuffy shacks, worshipping the Lord while we in this country are sitting in air-conditioned masterpieces of architecture, and still we are not happy. We feel that going to worship once a week is a chore; boring and without merit.

The Bibles we have are normally for display, not for reading, much like our grandparent’s plastic-covered living rooms were. As believers, we need to open up that book, filled with life-giving, cleansing water for the thirsting soul. The Word is our hope. It reveals the precious Lamb of God who died to take away the sins of the world, so that we may be reconciled to the Father.

It doesn’t matter to God how many chapters you read in one sitting, as long as you take the time and refresh yourself in it daily. A verse or two, a chapter; just read it and take its words to heart. It can calm you down, and it can energize you, depending on what you are looking for.

Many people scoff at the Word, thinking it’s nothing more than fables and pretty stories written by uneducated men making foolish rules, and oppressive to women. But they couldn’t be further from the truth. God is holy. And the world does not understand Him any better than the religious leaders of Jesus’ time didn’t understand who He was.

God’s love for you is truly unconditional. He will be there with you in your struggles and your questioning “why’s” God doesn’t delight in people’s suffering or addictions, or in your tears. No. He wants nothing more than to comfort you.

For you to obey His word means to be kept safe from serious harm. Is that to say that nothing bad will ever happen to you? No. Life will still have its ups and downs, and heartache, pain, and temptations. But the Lord will provide you with the strength to make it through. All you have to do is ask. In His Word, a great light is there ready to break through the darkness of this world.

Understand that it is the ‘religious leaders’ of our day that try to overburden you with foolish rules and guilt trips. God will not do that. Christian faith is not about bondage, but about breaking free from condemnation. It is freedom; freedom from fear, addictions, and from a hardened heart. If you haven’t already, choose this day to take a chance on God. Let Him reveal Himself to you. Let Him bask you in the glory of His light and in His love. You’ll be glad that you did. Accept this offer of freedom and peace today.

How To Start Your Day Right

Do you ever have one of those mornings that you want so desperately to wake  up early and spend time with the Lord, but decide to sleep in instead?  I’ve had too many of those lately.  My desire is to wake up early and read a few devotionals from my collection, and ponder the goodness and mercy of God.  But I have such a hard time with this and I’m not sure why.  I start out well.  There are days, weeks, and sometimes months that I rise faithfully each morning while the house is still quiet, my dog at my feet, and devour God’s promises to me.  I’m hungry for them.  I need His word to refresh me  each morning before I go out into the world and face what is out there, both good and bad. 

But too many times I am lazy.  I say, “I’ll do them later.” or “I’ll start again tomorrow.”  But those are only excuses.  I believe firmly that without daily digging into the Word, we as Christians will not have an easy go of life.  We need His strength to see us through each day, with all of its many challenges and joys, struggles and heartaches.  We need to keep our eyes on Christ.  I know from past experience that if I do not spend time with Him that my days are hectic and I am so out of breath, and weary by day’s end, that I want to hang my head and weep.  Life is so hard.  Yes.  We may have our friends and family there by our side, but I still know in my heart that without Christ’s constant guiding, we will be tossed about on life’s turbulent seas. 

He is good.  He will never leave us nor forsake us.  He is our Rock and our Strength.  Christ is Lord and He loves us more than we can even think or imagine.  It is mind-boggling.  But I am thankful to have an opportunity to worship Him freely and to have a library full of Christian literature.  There are too many other countries that are oppressed and lack even a Bible in their own language. 

So tomorrow morning, I will rise up, put on a pot of coffee, read through a Psalm to praise His name and His goodness to me and my family.  I will read through three or four devotional readings for the day, jotting down notes(a habit of mine) and enjoy the solitude of the early morning.  Then it’s off into this big scary world.  But I have His protection round about me.  I will put on the full armor of God.  It’s always good to know that my best friend has got my back.

Joy Unending

Here I am, after a long day of work, sitting at the computer and watching Joyce Meyer on the t.v..  I’m really tired.  But in spite of a full day of janitorial cleaning and working in the office, I am content.  Bone tired, but I am so blessed to be able to work.  I’m still employed, thank you, Lord.

But as I think deeper about my job, I am blessed to have legs that work so that I can walk up and down the stairs vacuuming and doing my other duties.  I have two arms to dust desks and clean bathrooms with.  I have eyes to see while driving to my various accounts. 

It’s always good to look back at the end of the day and count our blessings.  God is so good but sometimes we don’t think about those special blessings that happen to us throughout the day. 

I’m healthy, and so is my spouse and two sons.  We are all employed.  We have a beautiful home.  We have cabinets and fridge full of food.  We have cars that run well.  So many blessings.  But too often we take those for granted, thinking perhaps that we, as God’s children, are entitled to them.  It is good to take a step back and recognize how awesome our God is. 

He loves us unconditionally.  He loves us even though we can be unloving at times.  As a loving Father, He only wants the best for us.  He wants to bless us with good things.  God is a Father to the fatherless and to those whose fathers were never there for them, either physically or emotionally.  

I want to say, thank you, to my Father.  I may not always make time for Him the way that I should.  Not that He demands it but because He deserves it.  God sent His own Son to die for mankind so that we could be reconciled to the Father.  What a gift and at the same time, what a sacrifice.  It is good to remember the goodness of the Father at all times and never take His gifts for granted.  Thank you, Father.  I love you.  Thank you for taking this dry, ugly lump of clay and turning it into something beautiful to Your glory.  Blessed be the name of the Lord. 

Loving Christ

I am a Christian.  Jesus is a very important part of my life.  I have taught my two sons about Him also.  But now they are old enough to decided for themselves what they choose to believe.  I will not force them to follow me and my faith.  No one, and I mean no one, should be forced to believe.  God does not want people to believe and trust in His Son out of fear or because they are looking to gain something for themselves.  Being a follower of Christ is never easy.  So many people nowadays mock that sort of blind devotion to one true God.  But it is still easier than what others experience in other countries.

Many in other restricted nations are banned from their villages, lose their jobs, or spouse and children because of their newfound faith, or even imprisoned, tortured, and killed.  We here in America take our faith for granted.  Many think that God is some genie in the sky granted wishes and when prayers for wealth and other material possessions go unanswered, people become disillusioned.

The only promise we are given, as followers, is eternal life with Christ in Heaven.  I personally like that idea.  I’ve had supernatural experiences in my life that are difficult to talk about in fear that other people will think I’m a bit insane.  But I know what I’ve seen, and felt, and heard.  No one can take that away from me.

Jesus loves you.  No matter what you have done in your past.  And believe me I’ve committed many stupid and dangerous things in my own life.  Too many people think that they are beyond God’s love and forgiveness.  I say that that is a pile of crap.  Only the devil can deceive you that much.  But I know, many people don’t believe that he even exists.  But I believe. 

God is there for you.  All you need to do is believe on the name of Jesus Christ and you will be saved.  You don’t have to give a ton of money to any church to earn your way into Heaven.  This, I believe, was a tremendous sin committed by the church those many centuries ago with the selling of indulgences.  And not allowing the ‘normal’ folks a copy of their own Bible which they could read and understand for themselves.  God never said to torture those who didn’t share the Christian faith.  He said others would know His children by their fruit – how they choose to live their lives to glorify His name.

There is good news in His word.  Christ came to earth to die for the sins of mankind.  You can choose to believe or not.  I still believe exactly what the Bible says.  Call me naive or old-fashioned or ignorant, it doesn’t matter to me.  I choose to believe.  God does not hate the sinner, but He does hate the sin.  We are all sinners.  We have all done wrong things.  Hated others, envied, lusted, fill in the blank here…but the good news is that you are loved and there’s nothing you can do to change that.  That to me is such wonderful news.