God's Will for Us

When the Past Haunts UsPremium Content

I often find myself going over and over the past,like when I am trying to go to sleep at night and can't because of these thoughts. All the fear and panic of the past creeps into my present. It is as if I re-live it all in real time. It can be extremely painful both spiritually and emotionally.

I have come to learn a few things.

1. I can always learn from my past and I think we are supposed to learn from our past mistakes and missteps.

2. Satan can use the past to keep me in bondage. And that is certainly not the will of God. The last thing I want is to be doing what Satan wants. So, when these thoughts come back to me I pray. I ask God for healing in this area of my life.

When the past comes back to haunt me it can be something from years ago or from just yesterday. Usually the result is confusion in my entire being. But scripture teaches:

For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace. 1 Corinthians 14:33

So I have to wonder if it is not Satan who drags some of this stuff up to confuse me, to make all of these emotions boil over and create a mess. Now, I am not saying I have to ignore these feelings and emotions. They should and must be dealt with in a godly and biblical fashion. But I cannot allow them to create confusion and a mess in my life. I have to be aware of these emotions and deal with them, not allow the pot to boil over.

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Is it Possible to Actually Seek Rejection?Premium Content

"Actors search for rejection. If they don't get it, they reject themselves."
~Charlie Chaplin


As someone with a theater background, I've often encountered rejection.

I've endured many auditions and have heard my fair share of no. I didn't look the part, sound the part, I couldn't get a handle on a certain accent or I simply was not "good enough."

Ah, yes, "good enough." For many of us perfectionists and/or recovering addicts, this little phrase cuts right to the core.

In one way or another, we are recovering from something in life. And yes, it's often fueled by rejection.

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Are You in Passionate Pursuit?

So I got up, went out and roved the city, hunting through streets and down Alleys. I wanted my lover in the worst way! I looked high and low, and didn't find him. And then the night watchmen found me as they patrolled the darkened city. "Have you seen my dear lost love?" I asked. No sooner had I left them than I found Him, found my dear lost love. I threw my arms around Him and held Him tight, wouldn't let Him go until I had Him home again, safe at home beside the fire. Song of Songs 3:2-4, (The Message)

There is always a passionate pursuit in our relationship with Jesus. It begins with Jesus wooing our hearts-without time constraint or performance clauses. It continues by our daily searching and seeking for He who is constantly romancing our heart. The word picture King Solomon portrays in this passage depicts the wholehearted devotion that must accompany authentic relationship with Jesus. Nothing less will do.

The biggest mistake of my life is when I fall away from first-love devotional desire for Jesus. It is the mistake that gives rise to any and all others. Insidious and slowly, it happens almost undetectable over a period of years. I replace my love affair with Jesus with a professional relationship with Him. How does this happen?

Are You "Doing" or Actually Giving Your Heart?Premium Content

God is not looking for you to "DO" more for him. He is simply and passionately looking for more "OF YOU". He is looking for more of your heart.

His constant passionate cry is:

My child, give me your heart. (Proverbs 23:26)

For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show HIMSELF STRONG on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to him. (2 Chronicles 16:9a, NKJV)

You are at your best resting in His loving heart and grace, not in some piety or religious service and performance. Even though it may be well intentioned. "Doing things for God is the opposite of entering into (by faith through grace) what God does for you. True freedom develops best in the fierce battle to live loved and to love others by the fruit of grace."

The Christian may be like a ship tossed in a storm. Nobody on board may be aware that the ship is making headway at all. Yet it is sailing on at great speed (but not without resistance). Great winds and storms help fruit-bearing trees. So also do corruptions and temptations help the fruitfulness of grace and holiness...corruptions and temptations develop the fruit of humility, self-abasement and mourning in a deeper search for the grace by which holiness grows strong. But only later will there be visible fruits of increased holiness. (John Owen)

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I Have No Idea Where I am Going (Prayer)

MY LORD GOD, I have no idea where I am going.
I do not see the road ahead of me.
I cannot know for certain where it will end.
Nor do I really know myself,
and the fact that I think that I am following your will
does not mean that I am actually doing so.

But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you.
And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing.
I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.
And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road
though I may know nothing about it.

Therefore will I trust you always
though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death.
I will not fear, for you are ever with me,

Is it possible for a Christian to live without sinning?

Is it possible for a Christian to live without sinning?

I could say that I don't sin-but then I would be lying! There is no way that a person could live free of sin. Pride, selfishness, deceit, greed, lack of faith, or lust... all of those things are sin. But, remember, sin is not always what you do wrong; it is also what you fail to do right. Sin includes the needs around you that you ignore: It is the neighbor to whom you have not witnessed, it is the sick friend whose children you have not offered to baby-sit.

That Unquenchable Thirst for FulfillmentPremium Content

From that magical moment of birth, we all set out on a life consuming quest to satisfy an unquenchable thirst for fulfillment. It was then that we filled our little lungs with air; oh, what an overwhelming experience that must of been! In fact, we loved it so much that we have never intentionally stopped doing it.

Then came our need for nourishment and comfort, which in turn triggered a God inspired train reaction of magical events We instantly learned a beautiful reality, which was that the inhaled air (filled with oxygen) in our lungs not only insured a healthy body, but we could use the exhaled (void of oxygen) air to stimulate our little vocal cords and have our needs met. David the great Psalmist of Israel was so right on when he pinned this revelation of his God and maker:

I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully made; Wonderful are your works, my soul knows it very well. Psalm 139:14

You see, it only took a mere whimper and our world stood at our command. Mom would come running into the room and filled our empty tummies or some one would answer the call and have our soiled diapers changed, and to add icing on the cake, the louder we cried, the higher people jumped. It seemed that life couldn't get any better.

THE WORLD WAS OUR STAGE
Then it did get better; can you remember your adolescence years? You know, the year when mom & dad were placed on the back burner and now it was all about that prince charming/goddess who sat next to you in class. Wow, if I could just get her to notice me and maybe fall madly in love (our limited knowledge of it) with me. Then this unquenchable thirst would be filled and for a season it did just that. But sadly, some one ended up with their first broken heart and OUCH, it sure did hurt.

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Do You Have a Broken Wing?Premium Content

It is quite probable that someone reading my words this moment is fighting an inner battle with a ghost from the past. The skeleton in one of yesterday's closets is beginning to rattle louder and louder. Putting adhesive tape around the closet and moving the bureau in front of the door does little to muffle the clattering bones. You wonder, possibly, "Who knows?" You think, probably, "I've had it... can't win... party's over."

The anchor that tumbled off your boat is dragging and snagging on the bottom. Guilt and anxiety have come aboard, pointing out the great dark hulks of shipwrecks below. They busy themselves drilling worry-holes in your hull and you are beginning to sink. Down in the hold, you can hear them chant an old lie as they work: "The bird with the broken pinion never soared as high again. . . ."

Allow me to present a case in opposition to these destructive and inaccurate accusers. It may be true that you've done or experienced things which would embarrass you if they became public knowledge. You may have committed a terrible and tragic sin that was never traced back to you. You may have a criminal record or a moral charge or a domestic conflict that, to this moment, is private information.

You may wrestle with a past that has been fractured and wounded by a mental or emotional breakdown. Futile attempts at suicide may add to the previous scar tissue and increase your fear of being labeled "sick" or "nervous." It is possible that you live with memories, covered now by the sands of time, of an illicit relationship or a financial failure or a terrible habit or a divorce or a scandalous involvement. You feel that any one of these things might mar or cripple your reputation if the dirty details ever spilled on the table of gluttonous gossipers.

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Integrity: Watching What We Say

Integrity is as much what we say as what we do.

We have tried, in our culture, to separate what we say from what we do. "Do as I say, not as I do" is a phrase I heard periodically growing up. But the fact is, we are what we say. Our words, in fact, are often predictors of our actions and are certainly revealers of our hearts.

Proverbs 19:1 NRSV
Better the poor walking in integrity
than one perverse of speech who is a fool.

This proverb compares two people, one who "walks in integrity" without wealth and one who is "perverse in speech" and a fool. The inference, of course, is that the one who is perverse in speech has more material wealth than the other. The writer tells us that it’s better to be poor and have integrity than to be wealthy and a fool. And what makes a fool? Someone whose speech is perverse.

To be perverse means to turn away from what’s good and right. Think about that. Are our words good? Do they glorify the Lord? Or are they hurtful... or mean... or simply degrading? What are perverse words anyway?

Consider the Consequences

Have you ever wished you could be somebody or have something? Of course! It’s within every human heart to dream, to wish, to fantasize about what might have been. The problem is, we often don’t become, don’t have because we haven’t paid the price. Even more importantly, how often do we get ourselves into a situation (because our wanting) without first understanding what it will cost us? And then, in the midst of everything, we regret where we are but are so enmeshed, we can’t extract ourselves.

Desire without knowledge is not good,
and one who moves too hurriedly misses the way.
Proverbs 19:2 NRSV

"Desire without knowledge..." To want something without understanding what it will cost. The Lord Jesus taught about this very plainly:

"For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it?"Luke 14:28 NASB

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