Being saved is not about always getting it right but more about what you do after you get it wrong. Until I breathe my last breath, I will have moments where I fall short. This statement is not a nod of approval for sin but more of a realization that I am continuously being perfected and I daily need the grace of God. Last night I got in a pretty heated discussion with my husband who is also a believer. We were both determined to get our point across and win the argument. Things quickly escalated, and we allowed our anger to get the best of us. Then silence. Within a few minutes after our discussion, conviction set it. We yielded to the conviction of the Holy Spirit and apologies were said and my husband led us in a prayer of repentance. We went to bed forgiven and filled with peace. The narrative could have been a lot different if we continued in our anger. It takes humility to come back and apologize after you mess up. It pleases our heavenly Father when we have a humble heart and will repent after we sinned and not to be dug in and prideful. God knows we are not perfect, but He delights when we submit to being perfected by yielding to the convictions of the Holy Spirit after we mess up. I think about the story of David’s sin in 2 Samuel 11. When confronted about his sin by the prophet Nathan, David did not push past it or make excuses. Instead, He responded in humility and prayed the words in Psalm 51, a beautiful prayer of repentance.
Do you struggle with acknowledging your sin after you mess up? Do you try to push past it and pretend like it never happened? God is not looking to cut us off because we mess up; He is filled with mercy. However, we do the cutting ourselves when we refuse to acknowledge our sin. God resists a proud heart but lavishes his grace on the one who is clad with humility.
A farmer knows that it takes time for a seed to grow after he has planted it. He doesn’t plant a seed and run out the next morning expecting to see a harvest, that would be absurd! The seed has to be watered and tended to, but the farmer knows that if he gives the seed proper care, harvest time will come.
Creation testifies that there is a time to plant and a time to harvest (Ecclesiastes 3:2). Each season is necessary and serves a distinct purpose. We know of this truth but somehow it is hard to live it out because we become impatient! We don’t enjoy waiting for the seed to grow. If we could write the narrative, it would always be harvest time! But sorry to tell you, folks, that’s just not the way it works.
When the seed is first put in the ground, it develops roots; it is anchored. But without roots, there will be no fruit! The deeper the root, the sweeter the fruit. However, we must remember that roots don’t grow overnight, it takes time. What seed has God given you? Be patient. Pray to be rooted and strengthened in the faith (Colossians 2:7). Just because you can’t see what is going on beneath the surface doesn’t mean there is inactivity. God calls us to walk by faith and not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7). I need to get to the place of saying, even if I can’t see it I still believe God is at work and a harvest will come from my seed! When I understand this principle, I rejoice in the season of obscurity, the season of silence, the season of being buried beneath the soil, and the “not yet” season. Ask the Lord to help you discern the season you are in and to learn the lessons He is trying to teach you. Having the correct perspective helps me to rejoice because I understand that I am being developed and if I am patient, harvest time will come!
I recently published a video for my YouTube channel on how we do family devotions. From the looks of the video, it would seem I had it all together. However, some events that took place after publishing that video was a great reminder that I really don’t.
It was a long day and my outburst of wrath at every child in sight confirmed that the day got the best of me.
I had committed to staying off my phone, but by the end of the evening, I had the phone in hand scrolling on Pinterest looking for an escape from my current predicament but none helped me escape my reality. I have been following the Carnivore Diet for three months with great success and had just recorded another video saying I no longer crave the wrong foods. That evening, I suddenly began to crave the animal cookies I bought for my kids. I went to find them and took a handful and justified eating them because they were organic. I had intentions of going back and getting seconds of the cookies but after a few bites; I realized they were really not what I wanted. I felt guilty knowing I had given in to eating what I shouldn’t and to get no satisfaction from it made me frustrated. As for family devotion, I wanted no parts of it. My husband had a late evening so that meant I would have to do family devotion by myself. Given my behavior that day, I felt unqualified.
I decided I would take the shame and guilt I felt from the failures of the day with me to bed. BUT GOD! As I sat there in my upstairs hallway bogged down by defeat, He spoke to my heart. He told me I didn’t have to wait until the morning, I could start over at that moment. I began to cry and His affirming words broke down the wall and bridged the distance between us. I repented for my wrong actions and lack of self-control. At that moment the shame, guilt, and frustration I was feeling were replaced with the peace and joy of God. As the tears flowed, I began to praise Him for His love and the way He repeatedly makes repentance possible. After I got it right with Him, I called the six children upstairs to get it right with them. I apologized for my behavior and we then had a time of sweet fellowship in God’s word and prayer. I went to bed free of shame and guilt from wrong choices. My head hit that pillow, and I was at peace. This incident was another reminder of the truth in Proverbs 28:113, “Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.”
What is the purpose of me telling you this story? Often we mess up, whether big or small and we try to stay away from God or continue along the path of sin because we allow the enemy to trick us to believe that God is not interested in forgiving us. I want to remind you as God reminded me a few nights ago; you don’t have to wait to start over, you can start over right now. If you mess up, don’t carry that shame and condemnation around with you. Confess it to God, get right, not tomorrow not next week but right now!
Over the years, I have observed that the more I eat the correct foods, the more I crave what is good for my body. However, when I deviate from eating clean, I resurrect the sugar beast. When I give in to those wrong cravings, I am left feeling sluggish, bloated and guilty. I have a choice to either practice self-control and go back to eating as I should, or I can continue to give in to the sugar cravings giving it even more power.
Isn’t this how it is with our spiritual walk? When I press and sacrifice to be in God’s word, I gain the proper focus and I develop a greater hunger to seek His face. I crave being in His presence. However, when I allow distractions to get the best of me, it’s only a matter of time until I choose binge-watching videos on YouTube or mindless scrolling on social media over being in God’s presence. My mind gets cluttered and I compromise my ability to hear His voice. Being in His presence then seem like a chore instead of a privilege. I have the choice to repent for not prioritizing my relationship with God or I can continue to feast on the things that distract, giving it even more power. I am so glad that God gives us the opportunity to stop and turn around. The question is, do we make good of this opportunity or do we continue down the path of feeding our flesh instead of our spirit?
There is freedom in the fire. Our culture has conditioned us to pursue comfort and avoid the fire (adversities) at all cost. But what if by avoiding the fire, we end up forgoing greater levels of freedom and seeing Jesus in a greater way? What am I talking about? Glad you asked! Daniel chapter 3 shows this principle in a loud way. King Nebuchadnezzar erected a huge statue and said that when the music played, everyone had to bow. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego chose not to because of their allegiance to God. This made the king angry. He had a conference with them and told them he would give them another chance to do what he required. They boldly declined the King’s offer and told him they knew their God could deliver them and if He chose not to, they still would not bow. Their response didn’t go over well with the king, he was furious! He commanded that the fire be turned up seven times hotter and had the 3 men bound and thrown in. Shortly after throwing them in the fire, the king could not believe what He saw. In Daniel 3:24 he said, “Didn’t we tie up three men and throw them into the furnace?”… “Look!” Nebuchadnezzar shouted. “I see four men, unbound, walking around in the fire unharmed! And the fourth looks like a god!”
They threw the men into the fire bound, but when they got in the fire, God brought them freedom; their hands became untied, and they were not in the fire alone. The 4th man walking in the fire with them was Jesus Himself. There is so much to glean from this powerful text! When I am going through for the sake of Christ, I don’t have to fear the fire. I have endured some difficulties, but I must confess that many times I entered the fire bound by fear and pride. However, the longer I stayed in the fire, the more freedom I found because the difficulties caused me to press into God even more. I was desperate and that desperation birth a greater prayer life and a greater hunger for God and His word. The chain of fear was broken, and I was free to walk in faith. Pride was destroyed at a greater level and I am now more willing to be transparent and take off the mask of perfection. I received a greater deliverance from people-pleasing and I am now more focused on bringing God glory. The devil wanted the fire to destroy me, but God used the fire to work for my good. I found freedom in the fire!
What fire are you in? Can you see how God has brought greater levels of freedom in your spirit because of the fire? Have you seen Jesus in the fire?
Psalm 34:19 NKJ Many are the afflictions of the righteous, But the LORD delivers him out of them all.
We were having an ongoing problem in our home and my assumption was that the culprit was a particular child. For months as the problem continued, I would reprimand this child and he would vehemently deny it. I didn’t believe him and the more he denied it the angrier I became. We recently had an impromptu devotion with the children because we all needed a spiritual tune-up. I shared Proverbs 28:13– “Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.” After reviewing this scripture with the children, I invited everyone to confess their sins to God. Right before bed, I was reminded of the reoccurring problem we had been having for months. I approached the one I assumed was the culprit and before I could finish my accusations, another child began to confess that he was the guilty party. All this time, he kept his sin hidden. It shocked me. I could see the shame on his face as he confessed, and I could tell he was expecting a negative response, but the grace of God overwhelmed me, and I responded accordingly. I told him that even though his actions were wrong, I was happy that he confessed his sins. I encouraged him to apologize to his brother-the one he allowed to carry the blame for all these months. What happened after that warmed my heart. The other brother who was accused all this time responded with grace. He let his brother know that he forgave him and just like that he carried on playing with his Lego. He didn’t take the time to relish because he was finally vindicated. He forgave and moved on.
I had a few exchanges with them and went to my room and uttered a prayer of thanksgiving to the Father. I want my children to know Jesus, like for real know Him. I want them to respond to the convictions of the Holy Spirit. I want them to confess their sins. I want them to know the beauty of forsaking sin and receiving God’s forgiveness. I want them to experience the grace that comes from true repentance. I also want them to freely forgive others and not hold on. The struggle with sin is real in our home, that I won’t pretend! But this incident was a sweet reminder that God is at work, and He is greater!
I encourage you to, confess your sins when needed. Our sins not only impact us but it can impact others, so when necessary apologize to those who have been affected by your sin. If you are the one that has been offended, be merciful and receive the apology and move on, no need to remind the person of what they have done! In other words, respond with mercy- the way God responds to us when we repent.