As of late, God has been challenging me through others on my incorrect and even limited understanding of certain scriptures. It has been uncomfortable but good! We need tension for growth to take place. As believers, we don’t know it all and there are always opportunities for growth. It takes humility to sit and listen and allow the Lord to use others to challenge us to consider a different perspective from what we hold to be true or to add to what we already know. It’s unfortunate when we always want to be the teacher and not the student. We assume we know it all and are not open to being challenged. Acts 18:24-28 tells of Apollos and him being willing to learn from Aquila and Priscilla. Apollos loved the Lord. He was a very intelligent and well-spoken man. He taught the truth he knew with fervency, but he had a limited understanding because he knew only the baptism of John. Acts 18: 26 says, “when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they invited him to their home and explained to him the way of God more adequately.” Apollos accepted the invitation to learn more. What humility! Great growth came because of his humility and God used him to continue preaching the gospel with an even greater understanding. What an example for us as believers to follow.
It is necessary to offer a word of caution on our willingness to allow others to teach us. We must always pray and ask the Lord to help us discern if what is being taught is true before we receive it! There are many that teach error and the tradition of men. What they share satisfies itching ears and appeals to our flesh and it is easy for us to abandon what we know to be the truth and pursue a watered-down gospel. Allow the spirit of truth that lives in you to help you discern what teachings to receive. I close with the words of Philippians 1:9, “I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding.”
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?
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.
I was recently crying to God and telling him about an ongoing area of struggle. I didn’t say it out loud, but I was thinking, “isn’t God tired of me coming and crying about this?” His answer to my unspoken question was Proverbs 28:13, “Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.” I didn’t receive it as a rebuke instead I knew it was a loving reminder of His loving-kindness and mercy toward me. He was letting me know that He was pleased with my willingness to bring this sin before Him. I wasn’t trying to hide it. I wasn’t trying to make excuses for why it was there. I didn’t categorize it as a not so serious sin. I came clean before the Lord. My repentance and brokenness over this sin ushered in a flood of God’s mercy.
Do you have sins you are trying to conceal? I want to remind you you cannot fix or deliver yourself, that is God’s job. We will always have areas in our life that we need to work on. However, pride will convince us to hide those areas. There is no prosperity there, it will only leave us weighed down and stagnant. However, when we humble ourselves and confess our sins, turn away from them, God’s mercy meets us!