Monday, August 29, 2016

Help My Unbelief!




When I was a little girl, I attended Sunday School which was held in the school next door to our church.  The Sunday School class was held either before or after the service my parents attended.  As a result, my dad would drop me off, go home and then come back and pick me up when Sunday School was over.

This arrangement struck fear in me, an unfounded fear, but a fear none-the-less; one that built up to a crescendo as I waited for my dad to come back to pick me up at the end of Sunday School class.  My father had NEVER once been a "no-show" and NEVER gave me any reason to doubt that he would not come back to pick me up.  Yet every week I allowed doubts and fears to creep in until relief washed over me the moment I spotted my dad.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

It is the LORD who goes before you.
 He will be with you;
 he will not leave you or forsake you. 
Do not fear or be dismayed.
Deuteronomy 31:8


How often do I as a Believer do anything but believe.  There are days that I think, why am I calling myself a Believer; the more accurate moniker would be Doubter.  

Maybe you can relate to this as well.  We certainly have examples of Doubters from prominent characters of the Bible!

1.  Thomas, who earned the name Doubting Thomas, doubted Jesus was resurrected...

Now Thomas (also known as Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!”

But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”

A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”

Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”

Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
John 20:24-29

2.  Gideon tested God not once but twice because he doubted that the Lord would go with him to save Israel out of Midian's hand...

 The Lord turned to him and said, “Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?”

“Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.”

The Lord answered, “I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites, leaving none alive.”

Gideon replied, “If now I have found favor in your eyes, give me a sign that it is really you talking to me.  Please do not go away until I come back and bring my offering and set it before you.”

And the Lord said, “I will wait until you return...

 Gideon said to God, “If you will save Israel by my hand as you have promised—  look, I will place a wool fleece on the threshing floor. If there is dew only on the fleece and all the ground is dry, then I will know that you will save Israel by my hand, as you said.” And that is what happened. Gideon rose early the next day; he squeezed the fleece and wrung out the dew—a bowlful of water.

 Then Gideon said to God, “Do not be angry with me. Let me make just one more request. Allow me one more test with the fleece, but this time make the fleece dry and let the ground be covered with dew.” That night God did so. Only the fleece was dry; all the ground was covered with dew.
Judges 6:14-18;36-40

Sarah and Abraham laughed at God's promise that they would conceive a son in their old age, doubting God and believing instead that their old age would not permit this ...

Abraham fell face down; he laughed and said to himself, “Will a son be born to a man a hundred years old? Will Sarah bear a child at the age of ninety?” And Abraham said to God, “If only Ishmael might live under your blessing!”

Then God said, “Yes, but your wife Sarah will bear you a son, and you will call him Isaac. I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him. And as for Ishmael, I have heard you: I will surely bless him; I will make him fruitful and will greatly increase his numbers. He will be the father of twelve rulers, and I will make him into a great nation. But my covenant I will establish with Isaac, whom Sarah will bear to you by this time next year.” When he had finished speaking with Abraham, God went up from him. […]

Then one of them said, “I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife will have a son.”

Now Sarah was listening at the entrance to the tent, which was behind him. Abraham and Sarah were already very old, and Sarah was past the age of childbearing. So Sarah laughed to herself as she thought, “After I am worn out and my lord is old, will I now have this pleasure?”
Then the Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Will I really have a child, now that I am old?’ Is anything too hard for the Lord? I will return to you at the appointed time next year, and Sarah will have a son.”

Sarah was afraid, so she lied and said, “I did not laugh.”
But he said, “Yes, you did laugh.” 
Genesis 17:17-22, 18:10-15

And what about the disciples who saw Jesus feed the multitudes and then when a similar situation arose at another time they doubted how they could possibly feed that many people.

 Then Jesus called His disciples to Him and said, “I have compassion for this crowd, because they have already been with Me three days and have nothing to eat. I do not want to send them away hungry, or they may faint along the way.” The disciples replied, “Where in this desolate place can we find enough bread to feed” such a large crowd? 
Matthew 15:32-33

Or the Israelites, who doubted God's plan to bring them up out of Egypt.

The Israelites said to them, "If only we had died by the LORD's hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death."   
Exodus 16:3

But the people were thirsty for water there, and they grumbled against Moses. They said, "Why did you bring us up out of Egypt to make us and our children and livestock die of thirst?"
Exodus 17:3

In every example above, our Heavenly Father proved Himself faithful over and over again.  

Just like my own father had every time he came back to pick me up from Sunday School...

So why the doubting??

We ALL seem to have short memories concerning the great things God has already done for us...

And, apparently, difficulty believing God's great promises of what He will do for us...

LORD, HELP OUR UNBELIEF!

What can we do to truly live as Believers in Christ?

First and foremost we can pray.

Pray for the Holy Spirit to constantly bring to our remembrance who God is and who we are in and to Him...

Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, 
he gave the right to become children of God—
John 1:12

He predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ,
 in accordance with his pleasure and will—
Epheisans 1:5

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
1 Peter 2:9


To spend time in the Word, saturated in the knowledge of our Great Savior and Lord, so that doubts could not possibly crowd out the Truth of God's love and faithfulness.

 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

I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.
Jeremiah 31:3


To walk obediently, not allowing the sin of doubt and lack of Faith in God to misdirect our focus inward, but instead to only look to Christ Jesus in full believing Trust.

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
Hebrews 11:6


Our name Believer shows the world that we believe that Jesus is the Son of God, who died for our personal sins, rose again and in so doing, has secured our Salvation in Heaven.

But when non-Believers and Believers see us doubting, in any given situation, doesn't that essentially appear to cancel out our whole belief system in the One who saves?...  What happens then to our testimony?

Sobering words, aren't they?...

I realize in these sinful bodies, there will be times of doubting.  

HELP MY UNBELIEF!

But it is my hope that we will be more mindful of what doubting does to our testimony of God's faithfulness, and will be encouraged to uphold the name Believer in our daily thoughts and actions, bringing God Glory and showcasing the power of His death and resurrection...

When we receive news of a difficult diagnosis - choose to Believe God and His loving plan

When we have a loved one in the throws of addiction - choose to Believe God and His loving plan

When we suffer a miscarriage - choose to Believe God and His loving plan

When we find ourselves in a broken marriage - choose to Believe God and His loving plan

When we have a wayward child - choose to Believe God and His loving plan

When we lose our job - choose to Believe God and His loving plan

When the unthinkable happens - choose to Believe God and His loving plan


Trust in the One who Saves in ALL Circumstances


Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.
Proverbs 3:5



You might find me on these link-ups:
Grace & Truth Link-upWoman to Woman Ministries,  Growing in Grace Link-up, 3DLessonsLif4eInspire Me Monday Titus 2 TuesdayA Wise Women Builds Her HomeA Look at the Book,  Sunday StillnessThe Weekend BrewSpiritual Sundays, Soul Survival,  Give Me Grace, Testimony TuesdayWomen with Intention WednesdaysStill SaturdayGood Morning MondaysTell His StoryFaith & Fellowship Blog HopMotivate and Rejuvenate MondaysBe SaltyMonday's MusingsThe Art of Home-Making MondayTuesday TalkWaiting on Wednesday, Reflect His Love and Glory  Words of Comfort Link-upWholehearted WednesdaysTell it to Me TuesdayFaithful at Home Fridays, Faith 'N FriendsTGI SaturdaysSitting Among Friends Encourage Me Monday Words with Winter Essential FridaysSo Much at Home Family, Friendship & Faith House to Home Intentional Tuesday ,Wonderful Wednesday , Monday of Many BlessingsLiteracy Musings Mondays,Imparting GraceSHINE Blog Hop Dance with JesusGive Me GraceBooknificent Thursdays UNITE Cozy Reading SpotMaking Your Home Sing Monday Social Butterfly Sundays  Let Us Grow Small Wonder Link-up Winsome Wednesday Growing in Grace Thursday After My CoffeeRewind Friday Fresh Market Friday Moments of Hope Wonderful Wednesdays Christian Blogger Link-Up

Sunday, August 21, 2016

A Time of Refreshing



 ...that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord
Acts 3:20a


My husband and I are excitedly looking forward to a trip this coming week to Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Amish Country.  A trip that we had to plan quite spur of the moment and essentially just days before leaving.

It's been ten years since we have visited this beautiful area and its peaceful people.  I can't wait to hear the clip-clop of the horse and buggy going up the road or to take in the vistas of farmland as far as the eye can see.

I had prayed that the Lord would show me where we should vacation and where we should stay.  Amish Country kept popping into my mind.  I then began looking for accommodations in the area and found a reasonable apartment attached to a persons home.  I later found out that the owners are Beachy Amish AND they have invited us to attend their Beachy Amish/Mennonite church next Sunday.  I am sooo excited!!!  

For those of you who aren't familiar, the Beachy Amish are Evangelical Christians who do use cars, electricity and the internet, but do not have TVs.  They dress in the traditional Amish clothing.  The church we will be attending, with our gracious hosts, practice segregated seating during the service.  I know it will be such a blessing to attend.

My husband and I will also be going to see the story of Samson at Sight and Sound.  This will be our first time seeing a show at  Sight and Sound.   From what I understand, the Biblical story productions are bigger than life.  Everyone who has ever attended a show there always raves about it.

Just by chance, my husband and I had stopped to talk to our Pastor and his wife after service this morning only to find out that they too will be at Sight and Sound to see Samson the same night we are!  And mind you this is a 5 hour ride away for all of us!  God is sooo good to have ordered our steps in such a delightful way!  We are hoping to be able to meet up prior to the show.

This upcoming week promises to be a great time of refreshing.  Looking forward to spending time with our Christian hosts, attending their church and soaking up the prevailing Christian culture that shows itself everywhere in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

I look forward to writing about out experiences at some future point here on the blog.

For now, I will be taking a blogging vacation and will be back Monday, the 29th with an all new post!  

May your week be blessed.


You might find me on these link-ups:
Grace & Truth Link-upWoman to Woman Ministries,  Growing in Grace Link-up, 3DLessonsLif4eInspire Me Monday Titus 2 TuesdayA Wise Women Builds Her HomeA Look at the Book,  Sunday StillnessThe Weekend BrewSpiritual Sundays, Soul Survival,  Give Me Grace, Testimony TuesdayWomen with Intention WednesdaysStill SaturdayGood Morning MondaysTell His StoryFaith & Fellowship Blog HopMotivate and Rejuvenate MondaysBe SaltyMonday's MusingsThe Art of Home-Making MondayTuesday TalkWaiting on Wednesday, Reflect His Love and Glory  Words of Comfort Link-upWholehearted WednesdaysTell it to Me TuesdayFaithful at Home Fridays, Faith 'N FriendsTGI SaturdaysSitting Among Friends Encourage Me Monday Words with Winter Essential FridaysSo Much at Home Family, Friendship & Faith House to Home Intentional Tuesday ,Wonderful Wednesday , Monday of Many BlessingsLiteracy Musings Mondays,Imparting GraceSHINE Blog Hop Dance with JesusGive Me GraceBooknificent Thursdays UNITE Cozy Reading SpotMaking Your Home Sing Monday Social Butterfly Sundays  Let Us Grow Small Wonder Link-up Winsome Wednesday Growing in Grace Thursday After My CoffeeRewind Friday Fresh Market Friday Moments of Hope Wonderful Wednesdays Christian Blogger Link-Up

Monday, August 15, 2016

What If Our Faith Was As Contagious As A Yawn




Do you ever wonder why when someone yawns, you end up yawning as well?  Or sometimes, even just talking about yawning can elicit a response yawn.

An excerpt from the following article Why is Yawning So Contagious from www.memd.me shares some interesting thoughts about contagious yawning.


"While you may yawn when you are by yourself, yawning is often a social behavior. You have probably noticed that when a coworker yawns at the office, you are suddenly doing the same. People are prone to contagious yawning because of our sense of empathy, or the ability to relate to others emotionally. Interestingly, individuals with schizophrenia or autism tend to be less affected by this response, since these conditions are characterized by a lack of empathy.

When strangers yawn – Since yawning developed as a system to keep the body alert, it is not surprising that it is a social activity. Since people are social creatures working in groups, yawning evolved as a way to ensure pack alertness when danger may be near. Stress and anxiety can raise the body temperature and cue a cooling yawn, which others will observe and copy unwittingly. This behavior still exists, though it is not always observed among strangers.

When friends yawn – You are actually more likely to yawn contagiously when you are around friends or family members. The deeper emotional or genetic connections you have with those close to you will make you more prone to copying their behaviors—especially those that have developed through a pack mentality.

I started pondering yawning one day as I was driving back from the eye doctor.  I was in my car at a stop sign waiting to turn right as a girl drove by who was in the middle of a big yawn.   I then suddenly found myself yawning.  I thought it odd that a complete stranger, just driving by yawning, could prompt me to yawn.  It amused me that she had no idea that the lady she passed by in the red SUV at the stop sign was now yawning because of her.  lol.

But what if our life of Faith in Jesus Christ could have that same contagious effect on those we come in contact with, whether strangers passing by or those we are in relationship with.

I believe the story of King Darius, Daniel and the Lion's Den can shed some light on contagious faith.

For context I have provided those Scripture verses below:

It pleased Darius to appoint 120 satraps to rule throughout the kingdom, 2 with three administrators over them, one of whom was Daniel. The satraps were made accountable to them so that the king might not suffer loss. 3 Now Daniel so distinguished himself among the administrators and the satraps by his exceptional qualities that the king planned to set him over the whole kingdom. 4 At this, the administrators and the satraps tried to find grounds for charges against Daniel in his conduct of government affairs, but they were unable to do so. They could find no corruption in him, because he was trustworthy and neither corrupt nor negligent. 5 Finally these men said, “We will never find any basis for charges against this man Daniel unless it has something to do with the law of his God.”

6 So these administrators and satraps went as a group to the king and said: “May King Darius live forever! 7 The royal administrators, prefects, satraps, advisers and governors have all agreed that the king should issue an edict and enforce the decree that anyone who prays to any god or human being during the next thirty days, except to you, Your Majesty, shall be thrown into the lions’ den. 8 Now, Your Majesty, issue the decree and put it in writing so that it cannot be altered—in accordance with the law of the Medes and Persians, which cannot be repealed.” 9 So King Darius put the decree in writing.

10 Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before. 11 Then these men went as a group and found Daniel praying and asking God for help. 12 So they went to the king and spoke to him about his royal decree: “Did you not publish a decree that during the next thirty days anyone who prays to any god or human being except to you, Your Majesty, would be thrown into the lions’ den?”

The king answered, “The decree stands—in accordance with the law of the Medes and Persians, which cannot be repealed.”

13 Then they said to the king, “Daniel, who is one of the exiles from Judah, pays no attention to you, Your Majesty, or to the decree you put in writing. He still prays three times a day.” 14 When the king heard this, he was greatly distressed; he was determined to rescue Daniel and made every effort until sundown to save him.

15 Then the men went as a group to King Darius and said to him, “Remember, Your Majesty, that according to the law of the Medes and Persians no decree or edict that the king issues can be changed.”

16 So the king gave the order, and they brought Daniel and threw him into the lions’ den. The king said to Daniel, “May your God, whom you serve continually, rescue you!”

17 A stone was brought and placed over the mouth of the den, and the king sealed it with his own signet ring and with the rings of his nobles, so that Daniel’s situation might not be changed. 18 Then the king returned to his palace and spent the night without eating and without any entertainment being brought to him. And he could not sleep.

19 At the first light of dawn, the king got up and hurried to the lions’ den. 20 When he came near the den, he called to Daniel in an anguished voice, “Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to rescue you from the lions?”

21 Daniel answered, “May the king live forever! 22 My God sent his angel, and he shut the mouths of the lions. They have not hurt me, because I was found innocent in his sight. Nor have I ever done any wrong before you, Your Majesty.”

23 The king was overjoyed and gave orders to lift Daniel out of the den. And when Daniel was lifted from the den, no wound was found on him, because he had trusted in his God.

24 At the king’s command, the men who had falsely accused Daniel were brought in and thrown into the lions’ den, along with their wives and children. And before they reached the floor of the den, the lions overpowered them and crushed all their bones.

25 Then King Darius wrote to all the nations and peoples of every language in all the earth:

“May you prosper greatly!

26 “I issue a decree that in every part of my kingdom people must fear and reverence the God of Daniel.

“For he is the living God
    and he endures forever;
his kingdom will not be destroyed,
    his dominion will never end.
27 He rescues and he saves;
    he performs signs and wonders
    in the heavens and on the earth.
He has rescued Daniel
    from the power of the lions.”

28 So Daniel prospered during the reign of Darius and the reign of Cyrus[b] the Persian.

Daniel 6

I've read or heard this account of Daniel in the Lion's Den many, many times. But recently, having read it again, I found myself pondering the faith of King Darius... 

King Darius was approached by his administrators and satraps to enact a decree which required that anyone who prayed to any God or human being "for the next 30 days", except to the King himself, would be thrown into the Lion's Den. 

Despite the edict, Daniel had continued to offer up prayers to God three times a day.  The other administrators and satraps reported Daniel to King Darius.

King Darius was now in the difficult position of abiding by his own decree ordering Daniel, the very Satrap he had planned on setting over his entire Kingdom, to be thrown into the Lion's Den.

King Darius was incredibly grieved by this.  Even though he felt he had no choice but to throw Daniel in the Lion's Den, I believe King Darius showed incredible faith by trusting Daniel's God to rescue Daniel from the lions, despite what I'm sure seemed a great impossibility.

Over and over, King Darius kept referring to Daniel as a person who served his God continually.  Clearly Daniel's faith had made quite an impact on King Darius.  So much so that he believed Daniel's God could do the impossible by rescuing Daniel from the lions in the Lion's Den.

The next morning King Darius was overjoyed to see that Daniel's God had rescued him from the Lion's Den.  

As a result, King Darius decreed an incredible Statement of Faith for all the kingdom to follow:

“For he is the living God
    and he endures forever;
his kingdom will not be destroyed,
    his dominion will never end.
 He rescues and he saves;
    he performs signs and wonders
    in the heavens and on the earth.
He has rescued Daniel
    from the power of the lions.”

King Darius publicly acknowledges that God is the living God who endures forever.  Daniel's God had now become King Darius' God.


Can it be said of us what was said of Daniel?...

Karen, who continually serves her God

{Insert name}, who continually serves her God


How do we continually serve our great God?

By first and foremost knowing who our God is!  

Our God is All knowing, All Powerful, Ever Present, Loving and Unchanging.  

Our faith is built on the very attributes of God!  

When we conduct every aspect of our lives in the knowledge of who God is, our faith WILL be contagious and will testify that we continually serve our God to bring Glory to His Name...

When facing all manner of trials - Others will see in us that God is All Knowing and Ever Present.

When we are weak - Others will see in us that God is All Powerful.

When we are facing uncertainty - Others will see in us that God is All Knowing and Unchanging.

And when we continually walk in the Forgiveness, Freedom and Joy of the Lord - Others will see in us that God is Loving.



For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, 
have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world,
 in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.
Romans 1:20

God created us in His image to know Him.  We are all born with an innate pack-like quality to come into communion with the Father and His children.   Like a pack of coyotes calling in the fields at night to signal their location to other pack members, believers send out signals to those who are called, of the Hope that lies within them through evidences of their strong faith Similar to the contagiousness of a yawn, whether a stranger passing by or a close friend or acquaintance, testimonies of our Faith will create a desire in the called  to answer that call and give their lives to Christ.


You might find me on these link-ups:
Grace & Truth Link-upWoman to Woman Ministries,  Growing in Grace Link-up, 3DLessonsLif4eInspire Me Monday Titus 2 TuesdayA Wise Women Builds Her HomeA Look at the Book,  Sunday StillnessThe Weekend BrewSpiritual Sundays, Soul Survival,  Give Me Grace, Testimony TuesdayWomen with Intention WednesdaysStill SaturdayGood Morning MondaysTell His StoryFaith & Fellowship Blog HopMotivate and Rejuvenate MondaysBe SaltyMonday's MusingsThe Art of Home-Making MondayTuesday TalkWaiting on Wednesday, Reflect His Love and Glory  Words of Comfort Link-upWholehearted WednesdaysTell it to Me TuesdayFaithful at Home Fridays, Faith 'N FriendsTGI SaturdaysSitting Among Friends Encourage Me Monday Words with Winter Essential FridaysSo Much at Home Family, Friendship & Faith House to Home Intentional Tuesday ,Wonderful Wednesday , Monday of Many BlessingsLiteracy Musings Mondays,Imparting GraceSHINE Blog Hop Dance with JesusGive Me GraceBooknificent Thursdays UNITE Cozy Reading SpotMaking Your Home Sing Monday Social Butterfly Sundays  Let Us Grow Small Wonder Link-up Winsome Wednesday Growing in Grace Thursday After My CoffeeRewind Friday Fresh Market Friday Moments of Hope Wonderful Wednesdays Christian Blogger Link-Up

Friday, August 5, 2016

Guest Post @ Blessed Transgressions



I was recently humbled by a request to be a contributor for a new online Christian Magazine called Blessed Transgressions which made it's debut on July 1, 2016.

Their mission:

"...TO PROMOTE BUDDING CHRISTIAN BLOGGERS WHO HAVE AUTHENTIC MESSAGES THAT WILL GROW THE FAITH OF OUR READERS."

I am honored that my first contribution,  Miracles Through Prayer:  My Story, is being shared at Blessed Transgressions today.  This blog post first debuted on my blog last year under the title Prayer and a Piano.

It is my hope that this post will be of great encouragement to you.



Sing to the Lord, for He has done glorious things; let this be known throughout the world. 
Isaiah 12:5

For the mighty One has done great things for me — holy is His name. 
Luke 1:49

In an effort to help calm my tendency to worry, my mom taught me to pray when I was a little girl. She encouraged me that I would find comfort in God through prayer. At that point in my life, I hadn’t surrendered to Christ yet, but when I would recite the prayers I was taught, I was filled with a sense of closeness to God that brought me peace. I never prayed specific prayers for specific things. Instead, prayer for me was a source of comfort.

Once I was born again, my prayer life changed. Through the prayers of the Saints in the Word of God, and hearing believers praying out loud, I learned how to pray – in confession and repentance; in humility; for God’s will; for wisdom; in boldness; without ceasing…

Please head on over to Blessed Transgressions to finish reading Miracles Through Prayer:  My Story

You might find me on these link-ups:
Grace & Truth Link-upWoman to Woman Ministries,  Growing in Grace Link-up, 3DLessonsLif4eInspire Me Monday Titus 2 TuesdayA Wise Women Builds Her HomeA Look at the Book,  Sunday StillnessThe Weekend BrewSpiritual Sundays, Soul Survival,  Give Me Grace, Testimony TuesdayWomen with Intention WednesdaysStill SaturdayGood Morning MondaysTell His StoryFaith & Fellowship Blog HopMotivate and Rejuvenate MondaysBe SaltyMonday's MusingsThe Art of Home-Making MondayTuesday TalkWaiting on Wednesday, Reflect His Love and Glory  Words of Comfort Link-upWholehearted WednesdaysTell it to Me TuesdayFaithful at Home Fridays, Faith 'N FriendsTGI SaturdaysSitting Among Friends Encourage Me Monday Words with Winter Essential FridaysSo Much at Home Family, Friendship & Faith House to Home Intentional Tuesday ,Wonderful Wednesday , Monday of Many BlessingsLiteracy Musings Mondays,Imparting GraceSHINE Blog Hop Dance with JesusGive Me GraceBooknificent Thursdays UNITE Cozy Reading SpotMaking Your Home Sing Monday Social Butterfly Sundays  Let Us Grow Small Wonder Link-up Winsome Wednesday Growing in Grace Thursday After My CoffeeRewind Friday Fresh Market Friday Moments of Hope Wonderful Wednesdays Christian Blogger Link-Up

Monday, August 1, 2016

Guilt vs. Conviction




I still remember this experience like it was yesterday...  Only it was 51 years ago...

Sitting in Mrs. Teagarten's kindergarten classroom inside old Main Street School, the sun streaming through the large windows casting a cheerful glow into the library corner made up of  a cubby of  low bookshelves filled with books.  I was sitting on the floor in the library corner with my classmates reading the book I picked out.

Mrs. Teagarten signaled the end of reading time and everyone put their books neatly back in their spots, except for me...  {That was Mrs. Teagarten's rule - all books were to be placed NEATLY back on the shelf at the end of reading time...} For some reason, I left mine on the floor.  Not out of defiance of rules, but probably because I was in a hurry to get back to my seat.

We were all sitting at our assigned tables when Mrs. Teagarten asked "Which of you left the book on the floor?"  I knew it was me!  I panicked and didn't say a word.  She asked again.  I stayed quiet.  At this point all the other students were looking around.  She then asked a third time, but with a warning, "If the student who left the book on the floor does not take responsibility, the whole class will be punished and will not go out for recess, but will sit quietly at their desks instead."  I STILL didn't say anything!  I allowed my whole class to be punished for something I did!

Yes, I felt guilty, but I was more afraid of the shame of coming forward.

A circumstance like that certainly warrants feelings of guilt.  I broke the rules and my whole class was punished for what I did.

There are many things that a person can do that should make them feel guilty.

But there are times, that guilt can be misplaced and damaging, especially in a Believer's life...


GUILT

"Definition. The meaning usually given to the word "guilt" in Christian circles today bears little relation to the biblical meaning. Recent Christian interest in the subject focuses on its psychological dimension, analyzing the causes (and cures) of the sense of guilt, which is deep-seated in all of us and paralyzes the lives of some. It would seem to be easy to distinguish between this subjective sense of debt, which may be fed by groundless fears, and the objective guilt of sinners before God, with which the Bible is concerned."

Hebrew noun asam means guilt or guilt offering.  So an asam is a debt for which we must make amends.

The New Testament has no need for a word equivalent to asam because we do not need to pay. The Son of Man gives his life as a "ransom for many" ( Mark 10:45 ), paying our indebtedness for us.
Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology

How often do we as Believers allow Satan, the accuser, to fill our heads with feelings of guilt?  Groundless fears that have no merit because the blood of Jesus has removed our sins as far as the East is from the West.  Jesus paid our debt in full.

Once we have given our lives to Christ, it does not mean that we won't fall into temptation or not sin.

The Apostle Paul says,   "For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate...   For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing."

But then the Apostle Paul offers us our great Hope,   "Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?   Thanks be to God, through Jesus Christ our Lord!"

The Apostle Paul is not saying here that we shouldn't take responsibility for our actions or that there is no cause to repent, but He is reminding us that there was only One perfect person, Jesus Christ, who imputed His righteousness onto us through His death and resurrection.

Satan, however,  wants us to feel unmerited guilt to render us ineffective for the Kingdom of God.  Like a person who slips up on their diet and then says, "What's the use, I might as well keep on eating, I'll never lose weight..."  Satan's goal is for us to say, "What's the use, I might as well keep on sinning, I'll never be good enough for God anyway..."

So what is the difference between Guilt vs. Conviction?  Is conviction another tool of Satan's?

Absolutely not!  

CONVICTION

"But what exactly do we mean by the term conviction? Conviction means “the act or process of convincing,” “the state of being convinced,” or “a fixed or strong belief.” Thus, by biblical conviction we mean convictions or beliefs derived from and based on a commitment to Scripture, the Bible. As God’s Holy Word, it is the absolute index for the whole of our lives—faith and practice.

Conviction refers to the state of being convinced and confident that something is true; it means a strong persuasion or belief. In other words, conviction stands opposed to doubt and skepticism. When we think of a man of conviction, we also think in terms of action and direction. We think of a person whose convictions have a definite impact on how he lives, on what he does, says, and where he goes. By a man of biblical convictions we mean a man whose convictions are derived from Scripture and whose convictions affect him scripturally.

Biblical conviction is really the product of three things that characterize the ideal Christian leader or the person of maturity: (a) a commitment to Scripture as one’s authority, (b) the construction of specific beliefs and convictions based on that authority, and (c) the courage to act on those convictions in faith."
Bible.org on Biblical Conviction

Conviction is the healthy means by which the Holy Spirit redirects us through the authority of Scripture.  We then place our focus on  God's Holy Word and Christ's atonement.  We don't focus on self and what we aren't doing or haven't done, but on Christ and His working through us.

"See here the office of the Spirit, first to reprove, or to convince. Convincing work is the Spirit's work; he can do it effectually, and none but he. It is the method the Holy Spirit takes, first to convince, and then to comfort."
Matthew Henry Commentary

By spending time in God's Word and memorizing Scripture, we will truly know and understand our Lord and Savior.  In so doing, God's many Truths will drown out Satan's guilt declaring lies, and those lies will no longer have a hold on us.

The Comforter declares us innocent and as such, will bring to our remembrance God's precious commands and promises, gently leading us, whispering this is the Way walk in it.

But I have called you friends, 
because everything I have learned from My Father 
I have made known to you.
John 15:15b


I wrote this post preaching to myself.  I've been thinking a lot about Martin Luther before he nailed the 95 Theses to the door.  The Martin Luther who was constantly plagued by guilt.  The Martin Luther before he found freedom in Christ.

Thinking...  I HAVE ALREADY FOUND FREEDOM IN CHRIST! Why am I allowing myself to feel guilty at the end of the day when I haven't prayed enough, read my Bible enough or served at church enough?

And yet, if I am going to hop on the guilt train, why don't I feel as guilty when I'm short-tempered, gossipy, disrespectful to my husband, vain, etc., etc...

 Reading a June morning devotion from Charles Spurgeon's Morning and Evening Devotional recently, I found the answers to my pressing questions.  The words ministered to me... A healing balm of conviction, redirecting my heart and mind to Christ and Christ alone, Who though my sins past, present and future were as scarlet, washed them white as snow.

I hope these words of Charles Spurgeon will bring comfort and encouragement to anyone else out there who find themselves consumed by feelings of misplaced guilt.

"It is ever the Holy Spirit's work to turn our eyes away from self to Jesus; but Satan's work is just the opposite of this, for he is constantly trying to make us regard ourselves instead of Christ. He insinuates, "Your sins are too great for pardon; you have no faith; you do not repent enough; you will never be able to continue to the end; you have not the joy of his children; you have such a wavering hold of Jesus." All these are thoughts about self, and we shall never find comfort or assurance by looking within. But the Holy Spirit turns our eyes entirely away from self: he tells us that we are nothing, but that "Christ is all in all." Remember, therefore, it is not thy hold of Christ that saves thee--it is Christ; it is not thy joy in Christ that saves thee--it is Christ; it is not even faith in Christ, though that be the instrument--it is Christ's blood and merits; therefore, look not so much to thy hand with which thou art grasping Christ, as to Christ; look not to thy hope, but to Jesus, the source of thy hope; look not to thy faith, but to Jesus, the author and finisher of thy faith. We shall never find happiness by looking at our prayers, our doings, or our feelings; it is what Jesus is, not what we are, that gives rest to the soul. If we would at once overcome Satan and have peace with God, it must be by "looking unto Jesus." Keep thine eye simply on him; let his death, his sufferings, his merits, his glories, his intercession, be fresh upon thy mind; when thou wakest in the morning look to him; when thou liest down at night look to him. Oh! let not thy hopes or fears come between thee and Jesus; follow hard after him, and he will never fail thee.

"My hope is built on nothing less

Than Jesus' blood and righteousness:

I dare not trust the sweetest frame,

But wholly lean on Jesus' name."


May we all see ourselves as our Heavenly Father sees us,  innocent children, redeemed by the blood of the Lamb.

By internalizing that visual, we will walk more uprightly in the freedom of Christ.


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