Posts Tagged ‘backsliding’

Regret

Friday, April 13th, 2012

As I thought about the first Easter morning, it prompted me to wonder how I would’ve felt if I’d been part of Jesus’ circle of followers.

I missed the entire message. Jesus told me—in person—exactly what was going to happen. I listened, but obviously failed to understand.

I fell asleep, denied and deserted Him, and ran away. I hid in fear of the authorities. Despite hearing His teaching first-hand for three years, despite the miracles and healings, I clearly didn’t get it. I thought Jesus was dead and gone.

I’m overwhelmed with regret. Once I saw the empty tomb and realized He was really alive, I felt like a fool. I missed my chance. I regret my lack of faith and my unwillingness to support my friend and teacher.

I’ll bet He’s really angry at me, and really disappointed that I let Him down. I don’t think I can face Him. I’m afraid He’ll see only my shortcomings and failures.

I wouldn’t blame Him if He decided to dump all of us and find more dependable followers.

I blew it.

And then Jesus appeared and said, “Peace be with you.”

Jesus didn’t reject His friends. He assured them it would all be okay. Despite all their failures He stuck with them. He used them to spread His message and build His church.

I think that’s still happening today. He’s offering another chance.

I’m relieved. I’m grateful.

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Copyright 2008-2012 by Rich Dixon, All Rights Reserved. Used by permission.

Rich is an author and speaker. He is the author of:

Relentless Grace: God’s Invitation To Give Hope Another Chance. Visit his web site www.relentlessgrace.com

Are You Thinking Like the World?

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God (Romans 12:2, NKJV).

Have you ever noticed how easy it is to start thinking like the world? The Scriptures warn us against it, and yet we are immersed in that mindset and culture nearly 24/7, aren’t we? As a result we find ourselves thinking and saying things that simply don’t line up with God’s Word. Our values are deeply affected as well.

Now there’s nothing wrong with material wealth IF that’s God purpose for us and we use it accordingly. But when it becomes our pursuit and purpose? Not such a good thing. We know that, but do our actions reflect it? We know too that God does not honor pride but seeks humility and selflessness. Do we honor people based on the same criteria? And oh, how we know that life isn’t about us or even what happens around us in a temporal world…but do we live in such a way as to model that truth?

It all fell into perspective for me earlier today when I got what I consider “over the moon fantastic” news. Now anyone who knows me expects me to get excited if I get a good book review, sign another contract, get a great speaking gig, etc. But this news flash blew away all the competition. I found out that a woman I’ve long admired and been praying for (even based one of my books on her life) has been released from prison after serving a 12-year sentence for printing/distributing Christian literature in a country that does not permit anyone to do so without government permission (which is nearly impossible to get).

Twelve years. Can you imagine? Twelve years away from family and home and everything comfortable or familiar. Twelve years of hard labor and harsh conditions. Yet twelve years during which she continued to serve God and remained faithful to her walk with Him.

Putting things in proper perspective? Absolutely. As Christians we simply cannot allow ourselves to be “conformed” to the world’s way of thinking, but the only way to avoid that and to “transform” our thinking is to continually dwell in the Scriptures, the only solid and reliable guidelines for maintaining proper perspective. Personally, I’m thanking a courageous woman in a faraway country for giving me this fresh reminder.

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Copyright 2009-2012 Kathi Macias, all rights reserved. Used by permission.
Kathi Macias is a multi-award winning writer who h

Praying Day and Night

Tuesday, February 7th, 2012

Nehemiah 1: 5-6: “O LORD, God of heaven, the great and awesome God who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and obey his commands, let your ear be attentive and your eyes open to hear the prayer your servant is praying before you day and night for your servants.” (NIV)

One of Nehemiah’s brothers from Judah went to Nehemiah and told him the walls of Jerusalem were broken down, and its gates had been burned. Nehemiah was a cupbearer to the king at that time. Nehemiah 1:4 tells us that Nehemiah sat down and cried. For some days he mourned, fasted and prayed.

Look above and read verses 5 and 6 again. What a beautiful model for us on how to pray when we receive bad news. Nehemiah acknowledged who God is and praised him. He reminded God of the covenant of love with his people. Then he prayed.

As Christians, our lives are not perfect either. We face personal brokenness and destruction and see them all around us among believers. Some of us go through divorce, life-threatening diseases, multiple car accidents and multiple losses of loved ones. Others of us struggle with a marriage that needs a miracle, a job that threatens to break our spirit or lack of a job, the heartache of prodigal children, sickness in the family, financial difficulties because of a bad economy or a ministry that seems to be falling apart.

God made us with tears. No matter what needs to be rebuilt, like Nehemiah, we too can sit down and cry. Then we can follow Nehemiah’s next steps and mourn, fast and pray “for some days.”

Nehemiah demonstrated the formula for us. We can praise and worship God and remind him of his covenant with us as his children “who love him and obey his commands.” We can ask him to listen to our prayers. In verses 6 and 7, Nehemiah confessed his sins and those of his people. Confession remains an important part of rebuilding, and we must also include it.

Dear God, I weep in brokenness. Help me rebuild my life. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Application: When will I mourn, fast and pray for the rebuilding of my life or ministry?
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Copyright 2010-2012, Yvonne Ortega, LPC, LSATP, CCDVC

All Rights Reserved. Used by Permission.

Yvonne is a Speaker, Author, Counselor, Cancer Survivor and
serves on the Board of Directors of Christians in Recovery.

She is the author of Finding Hope for Your Journey through Breast Cancer.

Visit her website: http://YvonneOrtega.com

God is Rewriting the Text of Your Life!

Thursday, February 2nd, 2012

God rewrote the text of my life
when I opened the book of my heart to his eyes.
(Psalm 18:24, The Message).

I seldom use The Message for personal Bible study or quotes, but when I came across the above phrase, the writer in me responded with a hearty “Yes!”

Can anyone relate? Have you ever caught yourself bumbling along, trying to orchestrate your life, order your steps, direct your future—and then stopped and asked yourself, “What was I thinking?”

We are not the captain of our own ship or the master of our own fate, but we sure act like it sometimes, don’t we? Oh, I know, before we become Christians we actually believe that we are and live accordingly. Then we come face to face with the Savior, turn our lives over to Him, and we never make that foolish mistake again. Right?

Well, theoretically, we don’t. And most of the time, not intentionally. But unless I’m different than every other believer on planet earth, we do slip into that faulty thinking on occasion. And oh, what a mess we can make of things! Those self-written chapters of our lives are made up of text we’d like to delete, aren’t they?

Psalm 8:24 holds the secret to the edit button. Though we can’t go back and erase what we’ve already written, if we will be honest with God about the foolishness and regret in our heart, He can (and will) rewrite the text of our lives. Though the sins and mistakes of the past may still have consequences today, we can be assured that the God of the universe will somehow bring good out of even the worst pages of our past.

As a writer, I know how easy it is to go off on a self-imposed tangent, to become distracted and get off-track. The result is poorly written material and lots of wasted time. But just as God has so graciously redeemed my poor writing and wasted time, so He will redeem and rewrite the text of our lives if we will just open our hearts to him and allow Him to finish our book for us.

He is, after all, the Author and Finisher of our faith.

Don’t miss CIR’s Daily Article !
Copyright 2009-2012 Kathi Macias, all rights reserved. Used by permission.
Kathi Macias is a multi-award winning writer who has authored 30 books.
“Beyond Me. Living a You-first Life in a Me-first World”

and


“Mothers of the Bible Speak to Mothers of Today”

She also writes novels:

No Greater Love

More than Conquerors

The author can be reached at: http://www.kathimacias.com

Do You Struggle with Obedience?

Thursday, January 26th, 2012

Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices,
As in obeying the voice of the LORD?
Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice.
(1 Samuel 15:22, NKJV)


Obedience. It’s a word I’ve struggled with since I was a toddler. No one knew that better than my parents. I flopped my toe across every line they drew in front of me—and I nearly always paid a price for my disobedience. But at 26 I became a Christian. Surely disobedience wouldn’t be a problem any longer…right?
Wrong. I still struggle with it to this day, though I know I’ve made a lot of progress—not because I’m faithful but because God is. I’ve learned this “obedience thing” is a lifelong process, and God is committed to teaching us how to walk in it.

There are reasons for that, one of them being that when we walk in obedience, God does amazing things through us. I used to think it was some sort of magical formula: I’d obey God, and He’d reward me with something wonderful. Wrong again. (I suppose I’ve been slow in understanding this concept because, somehow, I still think it’s all about me. I’m the only one who’s ever thought that, right?)

And then a couple of days ago I came across the journal my mom was using just before she died. She filled scores of them through the years, but this one is especially meaningful, as it gives me a glimpse into her thoughts and prayers, her communication with God in her last days on earth. The final entry, in her shaky handwriting, reads,

“Obedience is the key word of miracles. Sometimes we feel prompted by God to do something that makes no sense, but if we do it, it becomes a miracle.”

Wow. Mom was 90 years old when she penned those words, and she had no idea how they would bless me after she was gone. I now have them in the top drawer of my desk, where I can pull them out and read them often—each time I’m tempted to flop my toe across God’s line. Do I need a miracle in my life, either for myself or someone else? Most of the time, I do. And now I know the key to seeing that miracle come to pass: be obedient to that still, small voice inside that prompts us to obey God, whether it makes sense at the moment or not. God, in His faithfulness, will accomplish the rest.

Don’t miss CIR’s Daily Article !
Copyright 2009-2012 Kathi Macias, all rights reserved. Used by permission.
Kathi Macias is a multi-award winning writer who has authored 30 books.
“Beyond Me. Living a You-first Life in a Me-first World”

and


“Mothers of the Bible Speak to Mothers of Today”

She also writes novels:

No Greater Love

More than Conquerors

The author can be reached at: http://www.kathimacias.com

Are You Making the Most of Each Day?

Monday, January 23rd, 2012

You only get to live in this world once. Each moment is a treasured gift from God.

Every night when you fall asleep, another day has drifted away, disappearing down the ever flowing river of time into your memories. Yesterday can never be retrieved. Tomorrow morning, rise up with a radical faith that expects the impossible.

Offer your heart to God’s passions and invite him to activate his dreams in you.

Don’t miss CIR’s Daily Article !

Copyright 2010-2012, Chaplain Michael Clark

All Rights Reserved. Used by Permission.

Chaplain Clark is a Speaker and Writer,
Addiction Counselor/Professional

as well as a Recovery Support Specialist

Shadows of the Cross Ministries, Prison and Recovery Ministry

Do You think God is Condeming You because of Your Failures?

Thursday, January 19th, 2012

There is therefore now no condemnation
to those who are in Christ Jesus,who do not walk according to the flesh,
but according to the Spirit (Romans 8:1, NKJV).

One of the very first Bible verses I learned as a new believer (decades ago!) was Romans 8:1. I read and heard many others, of course, but that one truly jumped out at me, I suppose because as a brand new born-again Christian, I was so freshly aware of all that God had done for me. That He had not only forgiven me but personally paid an unimaginable price to do so still left me in awe—which, of course, is a good thing. We should never cease to be amazed that God willingly gave everything for those of us who deserved nothing.

And yet, to keep that in perspective, I still have to remind myself that His forgiveness is so much greater than any of my sins, failures, or poor choices that required that forgiveness. Somehow I have little problem resolving the fact that His once-for-all sacrifice covers my “B.C.” (before Christ) sins, but I struggle more with my “after Christ” failures. I’m a believer now; I have the Spirit of God living inside me, and I should know better…right?

Right. Yes, I should. And deep down, I do. Still, I must remind myself daily that I am one of God’s “WIPs,”—a Work in Progress—and He’s far from through with me. (Are you as glad about that as I am???) Though I love the familiar (and true) statement that God loves me just the way I am, I also know He loves me too much to leave me that way.

Though I cling to the truth of Romans 8:1, meaning there is NOW no condemnation toward me regardless of my sins and failures, I also need to beware of using that promise as an excuse to stop growing in Christ. Our goal and purpose as believers is to continually draw closer to the Father and become more like Jesus, and we do that through an ongoing yielding of our will to the nudging of the Holy Spirit within us—“not walk[ing] according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.” When we do that, the Spirit of God bears witness with our spirit that we are indeed His children and are no longer under condemnation.

If you’re struggling with that today—and we all do at times—ask God’s Spirit to search your heart and show you anything that needs to be confessed or relinquished to God—and then do it. The result will be a heart that KNOWS it is free of condemnation. And, beloved, what could be better than that?

Don’t miss CIR’s Daily Article !
Copyright 2009-2012 Kathi Macias, all rights reserved. Used by permission.
Kathi Macias is a multi-award winning writer who has authored 30 books.
“Beyond Me. Living a You-first Life in a Me-first World”

and


“Mothers of the Bible Speak to Mothers of Today”

She also writes novels:

No Greater Love

More than Conquerors

The author can be reached at: http://www.kathimacias.com

Go to Him

Monday, December 26th, 2011

Learn the Divine skill of making God all things to you. He can supply you with all; or, better still, He can be to you instead of all. Let me urge you, then, to make use of your God. Make use of Him in prayer; go to Him often, because He is your God. Will you fail to use so great a privilege?

Fly to Him; tell Him all your wants. Use Him constantly by faith at all times. If some dark providence has beclouded you, use your God as a “sun”; if some strong enemy has beset you, find in Jehovah a “shield”; for He is a sun and a shield to His people. If you have lost your way in
the mazes of life, use Him as a “guide”; for He will direct you.

Whatever you are, and wherever you are, remember God is just what you want, and just where you want and that He can do all you want!

 

~ Charles Haddon Spurgeon {adapted}

The Process of Recovery: Whose Time Frame?

Friday, November 25th, 2011

There is no human time frame that can be placed on people for recovery, healing, changing and growth by themselves or others – it will be a process – hopefully advancing not reversing.

But since we all experience events differently these things will all be different for each person. It will take what it takes. Just concentrate on progression rather than perfection. God has a plan and He has a time to complete his work – rest assured

He that started a good work in you will complete it…  Philippians 1:6

Don’t miss CIR’s Daily Article !


Copyright 2011, Chaplain Michael Clark
All Rights Reserved. Used by Permission.
Chaplain Clark is a Speaker and Writer,
Addiction Counselor/Professional
as well as a Recovery Support Specialist
Shadows of the Cross Ministries, Prison and Recovery Ministry

Follow Him, Keep the FAITH and Die to Self

Thursday, November 10th, 2011

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28 KJV)

As followers of Christ and believers of His promises we often fail to focus on JESUS and focus instead on our present circumstances. We want to walk in faith but this can become a long and narrow path that makes us feel blind, vulnerable and lost. However, all that is required of us to have FAITH!

I recently lost my home when the Bank took it over and sold it at an auction. I had three days to move out and dear friends of mine in Ramona offered me their home for a temporary stay. God gave me PEACE (which is the spirit of JESUS) and I have been living one day at a time. I have learned not to focus on my present circumstances and focus instead on JESUS.This has been a period of greater intimacy with Him! I don’t know all the details but after the Bank sold my home it took it back from the buyer, reduced the amount of my mortgage, modified my loan and is now telling me to move back. I remembered giving my appliances and most furniture away, instead of selling them, because even in the midst of my poverty I wanted to bless others but I never imagined how great was going to be my blessing. I earned $100.00 last month but I blessed a missionary from South Africa and another one from Australia with it and the LORD abundantly multiplied that seed.

We don’t need to know how the LORD is going to move in our lives, we simply need to follow Him, keep the FAITH and die to self! Life is never about us, it is always about Him.  The important thing is not to find a purpose for our life; it is to find His purpose for our life as we serve in His Kingdom. May He be increased as we are decreased!

“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3 KJV).

~ Cynthia Alcantara