I have been a Christian since I was 4 years old. I have grown up in the church and have enjoyed a close walk with God for most of my life. However, there is a fundamental truth to the Christian faith that I have always struggled with, and that is the issue of our sin being separated from us “as far as the east is from the west”. I have been taught that at length all my life through various things, and I knew it in my head, but I didn’t own it for myself. As a result, even though I knew my sins were forgiven, I have been living life weighed down with guilt and self-condemnation. I would read verses like Ephesians 1:3,4 – “Blessed is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him.” (emphasis mine) and I would think, well that will be nice one day, but I am not holy or blameless right now. When I sinned, my head knew I was forgiven as soon as I confessed and repented, but I still felt like I had to work my way back into fellowship with God, that there was a series of hoops I had to jump through in order to “make it up” to God for screwing up. As a result, I was always angry with myself, and I could not fully grasp my identity as a child of God and what He has called me to do. I thought I was too messed up to by fully used of God.
However, tonight, at our Sunday night prayer time and Communion, God revealed the truth to me. I finally got it, that my sin was not just “washed away”, but that the blood of Jesus Christ obliterated my sin. It does not exist anymore! The moment I confess my sin, Jesus is “faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness”.(I John 1:9) At that instant, I am holy and blameless before Him (Eph.1:4). That lie I told in 2nd grade – washed away; losing my temper with my kids this morning (yes, before church of course) – gone; getting impatient with the slow-poke on the road – doesn’t exist anymore. Hallelujah!
That guilt was a lie of the enemy to hold me back from living a victorious Christian life, and to keep me from fully realizing the call God has on my life. I can now declare that “Therefore there is now (not “someday”, not “maybe”, but “now”) NO condemation to those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Rom.8:1 – emphasis mine). It doesn’t mean I will never sin again, it means I no longer have to bear the guilt or condemnation of that sin because Jesus Christ bore my sins on His body on the cross. He paid the penalty, and when He arose from the grave, He took the victory over my sin, and because I believe in Him, that victory over sin – and its guilt and condemnation – is now mine! Praise the Lord!! Hallelujah!!! Glory to God!!!!!
Categories: Gospel, sin, victory
This has been a good week for me. I’ve won two things! That’s a pretty amazing accomplishment for a person who rarely wins things. As you can tell from the button above, I won Rachel‘s very first “Conquer the Caption” contest! This is a fun little contest that is going to be a weekly feature on her blog. She posts a picture, and readers comment with a caption to go with the picture. What did I get for winning the very first Conquer the Caption contest, you ask? Well, I won….the button at the top of this post!!
Here’s the funny thing – back in my very young teenage years, I loved silly lapel pins/buttons. You know the ones that would say things like, “Smile, Jesus Loves You” or “Kiss me, I’m Irish”, or sometimes just the little guardian angel pins. I would wear one almost every day. At one point, there were 3 different ones I was wearing at the same time, and I had a few on my denim purse as well. Weird, I know. So, anyway, now that I’ve won this button, I’m thinking perhaps I should start seeing how many blog buttons I can collect! Whadduya think? Huh, HUH???….well….maybe not.
What I won earlier in the week though really is something to get super excited about – for me anyway. I won a 6-week pottery class – also through Rachel’s blog and her first annual giveaway jubilee! I have always been fascinated watching people make pottery, and have always had a secret desire to try it myself. I think it’s going to be so much fun to have this time to look forward to once a week to get out of the house by myself, and try my hand at something artistic. I’ve always been told that I’m a creative person, but other than playing my flute, I don’t really see it. I have a tremendous desire to be creative and artistic, but haven’t found an outlet for it that I really got excited about – except scrapbooking, but I just don’t have the time for that anymore. So maybe pottery will turn out to be my thing! Wouldn’t that be cool?
The other thing that makes this so neat for me is the person who donated these classes, Tena Payne. Her daughter and I were best friends back in junior high school, and I remember her doing pottery back then. In fact, my mom still has some coffee cups that Tena made her and gave her for Christmas or something way back when. Tena’s pottery is now used in high-end restaurants and the like all over the country! You should stop by her web site, Earthborn Pottery, and take a look at all the exquisite pieces she has that you can buy. And if you’re interested in taking some pottery classes yourself, you can visit Cahaba Clay Works and click on the “Classes” link at the top of the page for information.
There are a whole lot of other fun things we’ve done this week, but I will post about it later. And I will definitely let you know how the classes go!
I Thess. 5:16-18 – Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
I recently heard a report from a lady who was in…Uganda, I think, on a short-term mission’s trip. She was working in an orphanage where many of the children came from pasts that would out-do most horror movies. And yet these children were some of the most joyful children she had ever met. Was there intense counseling? No. Drug therapy? No. They just spent all their free time in praise and worship. These children would go to school, then do their chores, eat supper, and have praise and worship time. Then in the morning, they would begin their day with praise and worship before going off to school. This missionary said these children weren’t forced into these sessions, they looked forward to them and participated in them with all that they had, and would leave the sessions still singing, dancing, and rejoicing in the Lord! Isn’t that wonderful?
It makes me wonder about us, though. How much time do we spend worshipping and praising the Lord? What would happen if we stopped wasting our time on Facebook or watching the junk on TV or even reading the latest Christian motivational book, and used that free time to worship God instead? I am willing to guess that we would find our stress and our concerns put in their proper perspective – God’s perspective. We would have a much easier time of letting go and letting God handle everything. It would change our lives.
These verses in I Thess. 5 are what came to my mind when I was thinking about all of this. I looked up some of the words. “Rejoice” means to be cheerful or calmly happy. “Evermore” means every when (which made me think of the phrase “even when ….”) and at all times. Sometimes I think of rejoicing or being joyful as exuberant happiness and I think to myself, “I just don’t have the energy for that right now”. I’m so glad that word means calmly happy – one could probably say peacefully happy. And of course, the next two phrases are pretty clear cut – “pray without ceasing” – turn everything over to God in prayer. “In everything give thanks” – giving thanks in the midst of a trial or giving thanks as soon as you’ve asked Him for something is displaying your faith in the God who hears and answers our prayers – and knowing His answer will be for our good and His glory. The next phrase is what gave me a little bit of pause: “For this is the will of God…” – we hear that phrase so much, but what does the “will” in the will of God mean? According to Strong’s, it means a determination, desire, or pleasure. God’s desire is for us to spend our time praying, praising Him (expressing gratitude for the works of God), and rejoicing in Him, which is worship.
So my challenge for myself and all of us is the next time we need to unwind, instead of picking up the remote or booting up the laptop, turn to God instead. It can be with music or meditating on His Word (not with the assistance of any other books, sometimes we’re so busy trying to figure out what so-and-so says about a verse that we miss what the Holy Spirit is saying about it.). It can be through just talking to God or just sitting and listening to Him (Ps. 46:10). It can be whatever God leads you to do. Remember, worship is all that we are responding to all that He is.
On Facebook right now, there are a lot of fun little memes going around for people to play. The latest one I’ve seen is to do a Google search with “(your name) needs”, and to write/type out the first 10 results. Well, by the time I got to it, the search was skewed because of all the people doing this game, so I didn’t take exactly the first 10, just the first 10 that were somewhat funny to me. I also went to ask Jeeves and did the same thing. Here are the results of the 2 searches:
1. Jennifer needs a smack daddy. – umm…exCUUUUSE me?
2. Jennifer needs to play by the rules. – ‘cuz I’m such a rebel, you know.
3. Jennifer needs to give birth in the next week. – That would take a LOT of talent since I am not pregnant.
4. Jennifer needs to date Jason. – nope. I am happily married, thank you very much.
5. Jennifer needs to accept that she’s gained a lot of weight. – again – exCUUUUSE me?!?!?!?!
6. Jennifer needs a shave. – Man, Google is rather rude. I shaved yesterday if you must know.
7. Jennifer needs your support. – Yeah, after Google has insulted me and depressed me, I guess so.
8. Jennifer needs a mortician. – One of the stranger ones. I’m not planning on needing one, and last I checked, Google can’t tell the future.
9. Jennifer needs a muzzle. – mmm-hmm, mmm-mmmm-hmmm!(that’s me trying to talk with a muzzle on.)
10. Jennifer needs to stop watching “Lost” season 1. – In order to stop something, I would have to first start it, and I’ve never watched that show. (Some of you need to pick your jaws up off the floor now.)
1. Jennifer needs to get over herself – Not much nicer than Google, is it?
2. Jennifer needs to get slapped. – In fact, it goes from verbal abuse to physical abuse. Yikes!
3. Jennifer needs to at least pay a fine. – Yeah, I had some library books overdue.
4. Jennifer needs this diva publicity. – A diva??? Me???? Hahahahahahaha!!!!!!
5. Jennifer needs a holiday! – AMEN!!! Is Google or Ask Jeeves willing to pay for it?
6. Jennifer needs to ease up on herself. – Sometimes that is very true.
7. Jennifer needs to tell people to have a nice, tall glass of “Shut Up”. – Oh My, that’s not very nice. tsk, tsk, tsk…
8. Jennifer needs more patience. – especially if I am going around telling people to shut up.
9. Jennifer needs to take things one baby at a time. – Umm, but I have 3 babies….
Apparently, I miscounted and forgot to write down a 10th one. Oh well.
Have you played this game? If so, let me know what you “need”! : )