Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Confession #65 - Foul Mouthed Fool

Recently my ego was deeply wounded  by way of the ugly mouthed neighbor.  Yes he's struck again, this time verbally attacking me with a barrage of "fat" insults.  I've mentioned him in the past in Confession #37.  This is a man who has proven himself to be an instrument of Satan's many times over.

But sadly today's post is not about this man; not really.  Unfortunately, it's about me.  It's a confession I feel compelled to make one of which results in many apologies.  The problem is my mouth, well, actually my heart.  "For out of the fullness (the overflow, the superabundance) of the heart the mouth speaks" Matthew 12:34.  Because my ego was seriously wounded, anger and hatred rose up; a decision I freely made because we all know that I didn't have to entertain those feelings.  As a result I justified my foul mouthed words and evil thoughts.  What's worse is that I was almost became unaware that I was doing so until my friend brought it to my attention.

I certainly cannot consider myself a woman of God by using bad language and thinking such things.  I won't garner respect and validity in the Christian community with such a mouth.  So why am I taking such a huge risk to my ministry by admitting this?  Because I am seeking true repentance.  First let me say to my husband and my friend I am so sorry for loosing my self-control and blurting out the nasty words and ideas.  I know that I am entitled to my anger, but I am not entitled to be saying these things.  Regardless of where I grew up and what I grew up with, there is little to no excuse.  I know better.  I am a woman of God and this not acceptable behavior.  The Bible says, "Words from the mouth of the wise are gracious, but fools are consumed by their own lips."  Ecc 10:12.  Anger has caused so many of my slip-ups in life but I thought had moved past them, sadly I was wrong and I must admit I've yet to conquer the fool in my tongue.  Secondly I apologize to you, my dear friends and readers.  You have trusted me to bring you a Christian witness and biblical guidance and this recent display betrays that trust.

Additionally I have always maintained that my platform as a Christian speaker, writer, blogger and bible study leader is about "keeping it real".  We have to be truthful with one another, and sometimes be willing to talk about the shameful stuff to help minister to each other.  I would be breaking my own rules if I didn't get this out in the open.  I will be curving my tongue.  I take this seriously and will submit to my Lord in order to keep my mouth in check.  Lord knows it isn't the first time but it has to be the last.  God's put a big calling on my life so I must get right with Him and He's not fooling around with me.  So much so these are the verses He gave me today, Zechariah 7:8-14:
"8 And the word of the Lord came again to Zechariah: 9 “This is what the Lord Almighty said: ‘Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another. 10 Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the foreigner or the poor. Do not plot evil against each other.’
11 “But they refused to pay attention; stubbornly they turned their backs and covered their ears. 12 They made their hearts as hard as flint and would not listen to the law or to the words that the Lord Almighty had sent by his Spirit through the earlier prophets. So the Lord Almighty was very angry.
13 “‘When I called, they did not listen; so when they called, I would not listen,’ says the Lord Almighty. 14 ‘I scattered them with a whirlwind among all the nations, where they were strangers. The land they left behind them was so desolate that no one traveled through it.This is how they made the pleasant land desolate.’”
Want God to listen when you call out to Him?  Then you must obey His word!  Then God gave me these verses in Zechariah 8:16-17, 19:
"16 These are the things you are to do: Speak the truth to each other, and render true and sound judgment in your courts; 17 do not plot evil against each other, and do not love to swear falsely. I hate all this,” declares the Lord...19 This is what the Lord Almighty says: “...Therefore love truth and peace.”
Foul mouth?  Clean it up - because God HATES it!  So no more excuses, no more justification.  God never justifies our sin, He forgives it.  And Christ paid a high penalty for that sin.

Ladies, I pray you don't share in my mouth issue, but if you do I will be praying for you.  Obviously it isn't what the Lord wants from us, and no one wants to be around a foul mouthed fool.  Please pray for me too, that I may stay in God's will for my life and keep my tongue in check.  The Bible says about nine times that the Lord is abounding in love and slow to anger.  I believe it's because He wants us to do the same.  He also doesn't want us to beat ourselves up for our sins.  But it doesn't mean we can continue in them either.

Dear Heavenly Father, Lord thank you that your word says you are slow to anger abounding in love.  Lord please forgive me for my foul mouth.  Allow me to be self-controlled abounding in love toward others even when they hurt me.  I forgive my neighbor for his hate-filled words and I ask that you do the same.  Lord I ask for forgiveness from my Christian sisters around the world for my behavior as well and I pray Lord for those who suffer from the same sin to be convicted and changed.  In Jesus' precious name I pray.  AMEN.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Confession #64 - I'm in a Relationship

With the atrocities that our world is facing, now more than ever people need to know Jesus.  But so many times we are too busy alienating ourselves from those who need Christ the most.  We get caught up in debates and political forums where defending our beliefs becomes more important than introducing people to Christ.  We want to stand up for the unjust treatment of our fellow believers, and take stands against the lies the world peddles against the word of God, and rightfully so, but on many occasions our approach can cause people to run the other way.  Consequently, leaving a bad taste in the mouths of unbelievers and keeping them far away from our "religion".  They ask us not to wave it in their faces and shove it down their throats.

Sisters you and I both know that we don't have religion, we have a relationship.  As Christians we have all fallen in love with Jesus Christ.  Naturally, when you're in love with someone, you want to shout it from the rooftops.  You want to change your relationship status and post pictures of this person on your Facebook page.  You want to tweet about them you want to tell all your friends about them, you want everyone to know that you have found not only someone to love, but someone who loves you.  It's interesting to me that when we fall in love, we don't go around using our loved one as our excuse to criticize everyone else's relationships.  We don't tell everyone they way they need to be living their lives, we don't say well, my boyfriend says Thou shall not eat chocolate to people we know are chocoholics.

Sadly, many times Christians, whether they are well intentioned or not, tend to use their relationship with Jesus Christ as a platform for righteous indignation towards other's sin. Personally, I don't believe God intended for us to become finger-pointing crusaders telling them about their sin.  There are quite a few verses in the bible about this, for example  John 8:7 “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”  Luke 6:41 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?"

It is amazing how love changes everything.  I have a friend who I've been so blessed to witness her walk with the Lord.  This woman came to my bible study barley having read a verse from the bible.  I've seen her walk through anger and rejection from her past.  I've seen her walk through difficulties in her marriage and struggles in her parenting.  I watched as God has transformed her into this amazing woman of God, who has chosen love as her guide.  This woman is currently facing some challenging issues with an ungodly and downright evil neighbor who is hell bent on making her family's lives miserable.  Yesterday, she told me that her approach is to just sit back and watch God take care of it.  WOW!  I remember a time when that would have been the polar opposite of what she would have said and done.  When she would have taken every opportunity to fight back and get in the face of someone like this.  And now Jesus has changed that.  I am so excited and proud to see what the Lord is doing in her life.  What a privilege it is to watch your Christian babies growing up!
This has happened because she has grown in her relationship with Jesus and because He used people in her life to teach her by example what it means to be a Child of God. God sent people who chose to teach her what it means to walk in love.

It is our sin that created the need for our Savior Jesus Christ to come to earth, suffer and die a horrible death so that we can live eternally.  "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. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him."  John 3:16-17.  Many of us tend to focus on verse 16 and forget verse 17, God loved us so much that he died for us; He didn't come to judge us or punish us for our sin, he came to set us free from it.  Yes one day we will all face judgement, but that wasn't the purpose of Christ's sacrifice, the purpose was so that when we do face judgement our sins will be covered by the atonement Jesus made for us.  Therefore, unless we are bringing the message of love then whatever we say about others sins are just like a "resounding gong or a clanging cymbal."  1 Corinthians 13:1.  Basically a noise no one wants to listen to.

Least we forget that we are all "dirty christian women", continual sinners who are washed in the blood of Christ.  Perhaps rather than defending our beliefs and getting caught up in political forums we need to allow our actions speak to those we are hoping to win to Christ and set an example to younger Christians.  Show them love and become the hands and feet of Christ rather than the mouthpiece of righteous indignation.

Go out of your way to Love rather than criticize.  Instead of pointing out what the Bible calls sin, show them what the Bible calls love.  Show them your relationship with Jesus and not your religion because the Bible instructs us to hate the sin, but love the sinner.  Jude 1: 20-23 "But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.  Be merciful to those who doubt; save others by snatching them from the fire; to others show mercy, mixed with fear—hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh."

We are to hate the stains of the corrupted flesh; despise the soiled or "dirtiness" of wicked sin.  But we not to hate the sinner, rather we are called to show mercy and save people from the fires of hell and we can only do this by remaining in God's love.  That's showing His love and putting it on display for others to see it.  Love is a powerful thing and we must let love fight the battle against sin to win the hearts of people to Christ and teach younger Christians how to grow in the Lord.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you Lord that you chose me to be in a relationship with.  I pray Lord that whenever I am tempted to be a defender of the faith that I remember to show your love, your grace and your mercy to those who are headed to the fire.  Help me to snatch as many souls from it as possible.  Allow my actions of Love to speak volumes over what I may say about you and your word.  Let not my religion show but may my relationship with you be on display for all to see.  And Dear Lord for my fellow "dirty christian women" have them do the same and be the hands and feet of Jesus.  In Jesus' name I pray.  AMEN