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“You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability.” 2 Peter 3:17

It is no secret to people who knew me growing up, that I was less than perfect; many can go as far as saying I was a nightmare at times, especially my parents.  I spent a great deal of time going against the grain, in a bad sort of way, wanting to shock those around me with how okay I was at doing the “bad” thing.  I was tattooed, pierced, drank, smoked cigarettes, attempted to try drugs, cussed, had premarital sex….really the list could go on and on.  (Side note:  I am not saying everything I did was bad, such as having a drink, but how I did it definitely was, that is a story for another time.)  For those of you who didn’t know me prior to renewing my faith, I am genuinely sorry if this upsets you.

My desire back then was to stick it to the man, anyone that rubbed me the wrong way or just for the sake of ticking someone off.  I didn’t care how my behavior effected anyone else.  I was tired of getting pushed around, talked about behind my back, looked down on or treated poorly so I decided to be the one doing the pushing.  However, nothing I did, from my point of view was that bad.  At the time I don’t think I even thought anything was wrong with the way I was behaving.  I was wrong.

I do not believe a person should be holier-than-though and I am not saying this to sound that way but as a mother of five children I would be utterly mortified if my kids behaved, dressed or spoke the way that I did back then.  Thinking of who I was truly disgusts me because I cannot fathom how I had such little respect for my own body, for God’s “vessel” or even for the people who were subjected to my actions.

This past weekend my husband and I went on a weekend getaway, without our kids, which has not happened in the fourteen years that we have been together.  We went to “Sin City” Las Vegas, Nevada.  We had such an amazing time, spending quality time with each other sharing four days of us time.  There really is no way to describe how fantastic it was, it was like a lifetime of date nights wrapped up into one weekend.  Although we did not partake in the “Sin” part of the city, we did witness it firsthand smack dab in our faces.

We spent most of the weekend off doing things but one of the afternoons we walked the strip and it just broke my heart.  Pretty much everything I did to myself as a teen and young adult was displayed in front of thousands of people, via the residents of the strip.  Those that were involved in the happenings were behaving as though it was no big deal “an everyday way of life.”  All I wanted to do was hug them and tell them there is so much better for them in life.  In no way am I wanting to sound judgmental but I don’t understand how they do not see worth in themselves, I do not see how I did not see worth in myself.

Yes it is called “Sin City” because sin is everywhere but it is everywhere all over the world, why should Vegas specifically be labeled as such?  Being there, walking through the people turning a blind eye to the hurting….believe me, from experience, they are hurting even if they act as though they are okay with what they are doing….made me think of it as the “Lost City.”

So these people or that city may may think it is okay to be of the world, openly loving sin, but I am just in this world temporarily and feel sick when I see sin but only because I want everyone to join me WHERE I am going and the only way to do that is to no longer be of this world.

Not Yet But Getting There! (notyetproverbs31)

“For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.” James 2:10 NIV

“For the person who keeps all of the laws except one is as guilty as a person who has broken all of God’s laws.” NLT

I wanted to add the New Living Translation to this because I think it says it beautifully.  So many people believe “my sin isn’t as big as his, all I did was lie or stole a grape from the package.  That’s not as big as the sin of a child molester, rapist or murderer.”  But the Bible begs to differ.  God says if you commit one, then you are as guilty as committing them all.  What an eye-opener.

I was watching a video done by Living Waters that was quite educational about how God sees things and how Christ would have ministered.  They pointed out that you may think you are a good person but by whose or Whose standards?  I have been the person that tastes a grape out of a package, not because I am hungry but because I want to make sure they are sweet before I buy them but that is still not acceptable and I never would have even thought of that.  As I was watching I began to realize that many people do not even know God’s laws and that there are 613.  That may seem like an outrageous number so just spend some time focusing on the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:3-17) and remember as you read them that being guilty of one is just as bad as being guilty of all ten.  The only Person Who can wash your sins away is Christ so after you are done reviewing and thinking on them, pray that He will fill your heart and cleanse you of your sins.

1.  There is only One God – no other gods before Me.

2.  Worship was only meant for Him not idols (false gods) – do not worship idols.

3.  Use the LORD’s name only respectfully – do not take the Lord’s name in vain.

4.  Respect the Sabbath – keep the Sabbath holy.

5.  Honor your father and mother

6.  Every life should be saved – do not kill.

7.  Sex is between a husband and wife only – do not commit adultery.

8.  Respect other people’s property – do not steal.

9.  Speak the truth – do not lie.

10. Be thankful and grateful for what you have – do not covert your neighbor’s house.

Side note:  I memorized these years ago through music by the Go Fish Guys called “The Ten Commandment Boogie.”  I recommend that you take some time to listen, not only are you listening to scripture but it is done in a humorous way that your kids will love.

In addition to the above resource I have listed, you can find this book The Way of the Master by Ray Comfort on Amazon.  It would be a great read on the subject and one you will want to add to your personal library.

I am making great strides to leave my sins behind, are you?

With HIS love!

Not Yet But Getting There! (notyetproverbs31)

I am YOURS.

“The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life.” Job 33:4

Have you ever been told something about yourself that did not sit well with you?  I have, to be honest, many times.  Some were not the least bit true and were eating at me because I let the devil take hold of that comment and allowed him to poison me with it, somewhat damaging me forever.  Then there have been times when someone has said something to me with pieces of truth to it and I have still allowed the devil to corrupt what was meant for good into nasty negativity.

Recently I was told something that had some truth to it but I let the comment put a wall between who He created me to be and the path He was wanting me to travel on.  It has taken me an extremely long time to get right with God.  I was a mother’s worst nightmare teenager and a stomach turning young adult but finally opened my heart up for God to do with as He pleased.  My behavior, the one He designed for me, got me into a lot of trouble when I wasn’t using it to bring Him glory but now that same attitude and behavior are working for Him.  I am an abrasive (aggressive by definition not the “tending to annoy or cause ill will towards another” as the dictionary states) strong personality woman and that is okay because that is who He made me to be.  Many people in history are that way, to name a few: Martin Luther King Jr, Beth Moore, Billy Graham, Franklin Graham, Billy Sunday, Joyce Meyer, William Wilberforce…and the list can go on and on.

“But now, O Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand.” Isaiah 64:8

These same people used the passion, fire, abrasive-ness and strong personality that God created in them to bring about change.  I know who I am in Him and am blessed to be given the opportunity to use who I am, that He created and continues to mold, for the furthering of His Kingdom.  There are still things that He is working in me and I will listen to and obey His truth every time I hear it, even if it means using my abrasive-ness in a silent manner, which might not make sense to most but it doesn’t have to make sense to anyone but God and me.

I have people in my life who I respect for their opinion and refer to them for godly advice but I always take that godly advice into consideration through prayer, seeking His wisdom from their advice.  This practice has meant so much to me because when I have sought some of that godly wisdom in the past and it has steered me wrong, with the best of intentions, His truth always speaks louder letting me know to thank the person and move forward towards Him.

I will continue to have Him refine who He has created me to be and that may not make some people happy but I have to remember that lots of people were not happy with Christ and His disciples either so I think I am in good company.

I am YOURS, LORD.  Have Your way with me.

Not Yet But Getting There! (notyetproverbs31) 

 

“Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil.” Proverbs 3:7

Yesterday I was working on a project that has taken me nearly nine months to do.  I purchased an antique teaching pulpit for my birthday in January.  It was really rough around the edges because someone had covered up the wood with some tacky green paint.  I knew I would need to strip the paint, sand it, clean it and then varnish it before I could move it upstairs to my bedroom but seeing is how I am extremely busy it would be a project that would be done a little at a time.

I first began, at the beginning of summer because the winter is too cold to do these type of projects, stripping the paint.  Little did I know that it would take several attempts to actually get the job done but I was finally able to see the natural wood.  Yesterday I sanded all the roughness out of it, cleaned off the dirt and grit and then put my first coat of varnish on it.

Seems pretty simple, doesn’t it?  The entire time I was doing this project I wore protective gloves to make sure my hands did not get harmed.  However, when I started cleaning up the brushes I took off my gloves to rinse them.  Not sure where my brain was at the time but it seemed logical that the running water would protect me from any chemical reaction.  I discovered just how wrong I was when my fingers started sticking together and no matter what I used nothing was working.  I tried soap and water and even nail polish remover.  I knew I couldn’t use the obvious paint removers because that would burn my skin so my lovebug looked up a solution on Google for me; Vegetable oil rubbed in and then washed off with soap and water.  Ta-da!  It worked like magic.

This morning while getting ready, I was thinking about what happened yesterday and it reminded me of what the Lord does for us.  We are rough around the edges when we finally give our life over to Him so He does some stripping, cleaning, polishing and varnishing to rid us of our old selves.  We are renovated for a new purpose but we are still sinners of our own free will.  We will make mistakes that might leave us sticky but the good news is He can cleanse us of that too, He is our Vegetable oil.

So for future reference, I am going to try to remember to use His gloves of protection all the time but I am grateful that even when I do make a mistake His vegetable oil is available.

Not Yet But Getting There! (notyetproverbs31)

“Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; Keep watch over the door of my lips.  Do not incline my heart to any evil thing, to practice deeds of wickedness with men who do iniquity; And do not let me eat of their delicacies.” Psalm 141:3-4

It is no secret that most women’s weaknesses are that of gossiping.  The Bible is extremely clear about gossip but still we women chose to partake in the extra curricular activity of spreading information we have no business speaking of.  We even get as crafty as saying things like, “can I pray for so and so, she is dealing with _____________” (fill in the blank).  Yes, most of us have fallen into this form of gossip, even though we are trying to, with a genuine heart, pray for the person that we feel sorry for, it is still gossip.  If you feel the need to pray for someone who is on your heart either ask their permission a head of time or tell the prayer warriors you have an unspoken prayer, meaning they can just simply pray “Lord we lift up whatever is on our sister’s heart” and leave it at that.

I know I have been really guilty of this at times, I feel justified in that I am “venting” about my frustrations about people to my “godly council of women.”  It is still wrong and not justified in the least.  He does not want us to gossip at all, positive gossip is still gossip.  You could be so excited for a friend’s pregnancy and want to share your joy for them by telling others but it is not your joy to share and therefore you are gossiping!

Please understand, I do believe God gave us godly people to be our godly council in times of crisis but you can seek advice without divulging personal information about someone else.  If that person happens to know the person you are referring to, when you are seeking their advice, then you need to seek someone else’s counsel so that they are unable to guess who you are referring to.

We are to “set a guard over our mouth” in the form of Christ.  Before speaking about something, ask yourself if it is information that glorifies the Lord and does not show any form of gossiping.  If you cannot answer both of those questions with a resounding yes then you should probably walk around with Duct Tape on your mouth until you get the hang of keeping it closed.

Learning to wear a “Christ filter.”

Not Yet But Getting There! (notyetproverbs31) 

 

Self-Centeredness

“For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7

I was reading a blog post from The Unlikely Homeschool, since I am a homeschooling mama, this morning about shyness.  It was quite eye-opening because although I have been labeled an extroverted person I tend to be extremely shy about public speaking.  Don’t get me wrong I love doing it but my nerves get to me every time.  I do not personally feel I am an extroverted person because like introverts, I prefer being alone or one-on-one rather than in large gatherings.  So I am not sure if my shyness is due to truly being nervous about public speaking because of being in front of a large group of people or if it is due to my own selfishness because of wondering what people would think of me.

If truth be told it is probably a little bit of both.  When I am speaking I like to remind myself just Who I am representing and would feel bad if I did not represent God well.  Which is a plus because my ultimate goal when speaking is to glorify Him in an effort to help people glean or build on their relationship with God.  The negative side though is that there have been MANY times when I have opened my mouth to add my two cents to something but I sound, to others, condescending and self-righteous, or so I have been told.  It is not my desire to reflect that behavior but it has happened and because of that there is always this internal fight I have going on in my soul whenever the subject of God, religion, church, etc., comes up.  The positive side of me tells me to say what I am thinking because it may just be that one thing God needs that person to know and He is nudging me to be the person to deliver the message but the negative side of me feels as though if I open my mouth someone might feel like I am being holier-than-thou again, giving them the desire to discontinue further communication with me.

This verse has taught me to be zealous for the Lord, not shying away due to my own insecurities but instead reminds me to have self-discipline to pray before speaking so that I may be able to distinguish between a want (self driven) of speaking and a need (God driven) of speaking.  I do not want to be timid when speaking of or for the Lord but just have to be ever mindful if that is in fact what I am doing or if I am speaking for the sake of speaking.

I want to be God driven and prayer is the only way to succeed at that, unfortunately not everyone is going to see it as such so that is where grace steps in.  If I am speaking for Him and someone displays an attitude of irritation towards me because they see me as being pious then I will need to learn how to freely give grace.  Shyness, though, is no longer an option for me.  Thank you theunlikelyhomeschool, click here to read more on the story I mentioned.

Zealous not Shy!

Not Yet But Getting There! (notyetproverbs31)

“Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.  They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”  Lamentations 3:21-23

Every day is new!  I have made a lot of mistakes in the past and sometimes I cannot believe I am still standing but then with the dawning of a new day I am reminded of His promises….they are new every morning.

A couple of months ago I had to get up early for something, I don’t remember why but I do remember I was ugly towards my husband the night before and woke up feeling horrid because of it.  I had set my alarm early, earlier than even the sun and was lying there just consumed with embarrassment and guilt for my actions.  I decided to continue to lay there and speak to God, in my heart, about my heart.  I spent a significant amount of time lying there with my eyes closed and as I closed my prayer could see brightness through my eyelids.  I went to the window and saw one of the most beautiful sunrises I have ever seen, with a multitude of colors, as the sun began to peek over the mountains.

“They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness” just pierced my heart as the verse came to mind in that moment.  His compassion never fails and I am so grateful because it gave me the opportunity to speak love towards my husband in the form of an apology; which was well received.

For all we have and will do to Him, He is justified in any wrath He wants to bestow on us but thank goodness He chooses compassion.  GREAT is HIS faithfulness!

Not Yet But Getting There! (notyetproverbs31)

 

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