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The Mess and the Masterpiece

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There are times when the church and those within its walls are considered to be hypocrites, which turns many off to the church experience. The reality is that every human being in existence is a hypocrite, whether they acknowledge it or not (only Christ walked the line of pure truth and never came close to being hypocritical).  There is one standard we tend to set for ourselves, while we often hold a higher standard for others. There have been moments where someone has promised something that went undelivered. There have been times where a parent has told a child not to something they consider inappropriate, only to turn around and do the very same thing they just told their child not to do. There are times where people lie, whether a little white lie or bold-faced lie, it is still a lie and not a true representation of what we think or feel. There are moments where we all lose our temper, saying things that can be hurtful out of anger or pain when we know better. I think you get my drift. People screw up. We make messes in our life, and at times the lives of others, whether on purpose or accident. We all make mistakes and we all walk the line of being a hypocrite each day that we have life and breath in our bodies. I have been labeled a hypocrite at times for a variety of reasons, some good and accurate, others out of anger or frustration when someone does not like what I have to say.

The purpose of church is not to create perfect people, it is to help broken people find healing and hope in their Creator! The purpose of church is not to point out faults, but to meet you where you are, and bring forgiveness and love! The purpose of church is not to clean up life’s messes for you and make it all better, but to point you in the direction of the One True God who can come alongside of you and lead you out of them, creating a stronger, more faithful, loving, and compassionate person!

Today’s sermon, titled “The Mess and the Masterpiece” speak to this beautifully, so I figured I would share it with you. May it bless you as it did me.

All my love ❤

Broken Heart

The moon will shine like the sun,
and the sunlight will be seven times brighter,
like the light of seven full days,
when the LORD binds up the bruises of his people
and heals the wounds he inflicted.
~ Isaiah 30:26

Broken Heart

Intense pain of a haunting past
Anguish consumes the heart
Bleeding under God’s crushing hand
Torturous to mind and soul
Struggling simply to exist
Lord, You cut the heart deeper each time
Endless lies once festering pour out freely
Creating wounds that reveal your truth
This affliction is so harsh, so devastating
Why does it have to be so hard?
You slice and rip the flesh apart
Bringing brokenness once again
To embrace Your truth means letting go
Releasing deceptions harbored in the dark
Lovingly this pain flows forth
Leaving room for a God filled heart

Know

I have been praying and seeking guidance from the Lord for many years, but it never fails, just as life calms down the storms seem to rage again, bringing me back to my first love–The Lord Himself!

Do you ever have times in your life when you are smiling on the outside, but inside you feel chaos, fear, frustration, and anguish? Ever had times where you just want the world to stop and let you off for just a little bit–a break in the storm. Ah, there I sit in the midst of the storm, but still praising God as I know I will learn so much and be refined that much more into the image of Christ. How funny too, that as I was reading one of my online devotionals today, these scriptures should be the focus:

James 1:4 And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

1 Peter 1:6,7 In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith–of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire–may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.

Romans 5:3,4 Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.

God is indeed so good and his timing is perfect! I so needed the reminder of what God is doing in my life; of how he brings glory, goodness, and life from the chaotic storms that rage. Perhaps you are in the same boat. Maybe you are questioning why you must endure the storm or you may be tired and drained from the trials that you face. I know not what your journey is, but I do know God is with you always! He is faithful and will never leave you or forsake you.

Joshua 1:5 No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.

Deuteronomy 31:6 Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

“Be still and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”
The LORD of hosts is with us;
The God of Jacob is our stronghold. Selah.
Psalm 46:10-11

Know

Trails will come
Storms will rage
Know God will never leave you nor forsake you

Fear may set in
Anger take hold
Know the Lord will be with you through it all

Rest may elude
Chaos surround
Know the peace of God is within your reach

Confusion clutters
Feelings abound
Know God is refining you each and every step

Challenges arise
Tears may fall
Know God will be the strong refuge you need

Deception flows forth
Blame is cast
Know God reveals all that is hidden in time

Darkness settles
Pain resides within
Know that healing comes through the hand of God

The Lion’s Den

attackofthecute.com

attackofthecute.com

There are times in this life when no matter what you do, no matter how honest or sincere you are, and no matter how fair or just you attempt to be, there will always be those who are unhappy with what you do. Some will just argue and complain about what you do. Others will attempt to make you out as a liar for their gain, while others will seek to devour you.

The world and those absorbed by it continually seek to destroy the good that exists, the hearts that are aligned with Christ and seek what is good, true, and noble. As I was praying this morning, God brought the story of Daniel and the lion’s den to my mind. I began reading Daniel chapter 6. Here stood a man, captured and enslaved by King Darius. But Daniel stood true to his walk in devotion to God, praying and seeking Him daily. Because of Daniel’s devotion to God, the light and spirit of God shone in him and over time Daniel, this prisoner of war so to speak, became “distinguished above all the other high officials and satraps….and the king planned to set him over all the kingdom.”

Daniel was doing only what God had set him to do, but because others wanted what he had, they sought to destroy him. Daniel had done nothing wrong to them, he had not deceived them, he had not betrayed them, but rather had done what is good and right in the eyes of God.

Through an elaborate scheme his enemies coerced the king into signing a decree that would ultimately land Daniel in the den of lions!

Had Daniel done anything wrong? No! Had he wished harm on those who hated and sought to destroy him? No! The beauty of this story lies in the saving, protecting grace of God.

Daniel was indeed thrown into the lion’s den overnight, but much to the chagrin of his despisers, Daniel was not devoured by the lions, but was found unharmed and untouched when morning came.

ddclaywriter.wordpress.com

ddclaywriter.wordpress.com

I am ever so thankful that I serve a God who can protect and shield His children from the evil plans of those who stand against them, and I stand amazed at how He continually reminds me that He is with me. In the words of King Darius himself, “He delivers and rescues; He works signs and wonders in heaven and on earth, He who has saved Daniel from the power of the lions.”

Lord I pray for all who face persecution and hatred, for all those placed in the proverbial lion’s den, to be delivered and rescued by You Father. I pray for safety, for Your protection to surround them, and Your shield to protect them.

Thank You lord for always being there!

Because?

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ,
set your hearts on things above,
where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.
Set your minds on things above,
not on earthly things.
~ Colossians 3:1-3 ~

Because?

Crucified with Christ
It is not I that live
But Christ in me

Why then do I struggle so
Why does the flesh take hold

I am a child of God
Bought with the life of Christ
With inheritance in the Lord’s Kingdom

Why then do I do what I don’t want to do
Why don’t I do what I need to do

I set my mind on things above
Focus my heart on heavenly things
Pray for strength to resist the temptations

Why then can’t I give up the ways of the world
Why can’t I stand strong

Living by faith in the Son of God
The One who gave His life for me
He lives in my heart and soul

Why then Oh Lord is the struggle so deep
Why do I succumb

Walking Contradiction

Everyday is a battle, be it small or large, whether against others, circumstances, challenges, or your own flesh. The war rages between right and wrong, just and unjust, worldly and ethereal. Scripture asserts that you fight not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms (Ephesians 6:12). The flesh is of this world, and leans toward carnality and sinfulness, but the spirit is attentive to the things of heaven, and thus the dissention continues: the spirit seeks the things of heaven, but the flesh pulls it in a totally different direction (thus I do what I don’t want to do, and don’t do what I should to do).

All through the battle though, God is there. His power, His might, His wisdom, and His protection are constantly guiding, holding, and winning the war. Ephesians 6 continues to remind you to put on the full armor of God that you will be able to stand against the forces of evil that come against you (Ephesians 6:11 and 13-17).

Keep fighting, stand strong in the Lord, and trust in Him to see you through the battles. Even when you fall, fail to stay the course, or flat-out sin….stop, turn your eyes to the God of heaven, and cast your sin upon Him. Give it all to God (the bad, the ugly, the wicked)and with great love, mercy, and grace He will lift you up, give you strength to get back to the path of righteousness, and fill you with hope for a future (Jeremiah 29:11).

God is good! God is faithful!
Trust in Him, and in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths! (Proverbs 4:26)

All my love ❤

For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin.
For what I am doing, I do not understand.
For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do.
Romans 7:14-15

teachersreflect.wordpress.com

teachersreflect.wordpress.com

Walking Contradiction

Lord I feel you
Know you are directing me

But still I struggle
Who am I?
How do I know?

Shame and guilt still reside
My heart cries out

I want not more pain
I want to live in you

I am a walking contradiction
In a love-hate relationship with myself

I know Satan wants to use me
Beat me and destroy my hope and future
He wants me to fail
Constantly he banters
You are carnal
You are not worthy, hopeless and lost

Indeed that is true
A sinner I will always be

But You gave Your all to set me free
Why can’t I let go?
What will it take?

Confusion

Satan is always on the prowl, seeking to bring confusion and chaos into your life.  He wants nothing more than to cause division and destruction in the lives of God’s people.  And furthermore, he wants to separate you from the one source who can calm the turmoil in your life and set you on the correct path….God!  When you stop to listen to the whispering voice of God, you may find yourself amazed at what He can do!

Just this morning, I was reading the daily devotional on biblos.com and it was very clear that God is always with us, always guiding us with His loving hands. He is the lamp unto our path, the one who will instruct us in which way to go, even amidst the chaos and confusion that Satan tosses at us.  He will counsel us through His Word, inspire us with encouragement and wisdom from others He places in our lives.  He will direct our every step, if we let Him!

Psalm 25:12 Who is the man who fears the LORD? He will instruct him in the way he should choose.

Matthew 6:22 “The eye is the lamp of the body; so then if your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light.

Psalm 119:105 Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path.

Isaiah 30:21 Your ears will hear a word behind you, “This is the way, walk in it,” whenever you turn to the right or to the left.

Psalm 32:8-11 I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you. • Do not be as the horse or as the mule which have no understanding, Whose trappings include bit and bridle to hold them in check, Otherwise they will not come near to you. • Many are the sorrows of the wicked, But he who trusts in the LORD, lovingkindness shall surround him. • Be glad in the LORD and rejoice, you righteous ones; And shout for joy, all you who are upright in heart.

Jeremiah 10:23 I know, O LORD, that a man’s way is not in himself, Nor is it in a man who walks to direct his steps.

Will you take the time to listen?  Will you surrender your ways and let God guide you, instruct you, light the way for your life?   I assure you it is not easy, and sometimes there is great pain and heartache involved, but God is true and faithful to bring mercy, grace, forgiveness, peace, comfort and joy.  It is an everyday battle to surrender your will and desires to Him, but the ultimate blessing is that your life will  be richer, clearer, and better because of it.  So seek Him today, read with Him, meditate on His words and let Him lead you out of  the confusion and chaos!

All my love!

Personal Psalm

There are times in life when you just feel overwhelmed–when your soul feels lost, your heart feels cold or numb, your mind is saddened, and your thoughts tend to wander to the worst case scenario. If you have ever been consumed with fear or hit rock bottom, feeling like you will never get back up, know that you are not alone! You may feel alone, been abandoned by family and friends, have nowhere to go and no one to turn to.  But rest assured that feeling is a LIE straight from Satan!!

You are NEVER alone!  You NEVER have to go through the trials of life alone!  You NEVER have to walk the road of life by yourself!  GOD is with you ALWAYS!  He promises to never leave you and to never forsake you (Deuteronomy 31:5-8).  He knows exactly what you need, even if you feel differently (Matthew 6:25-29).

rachelwojo.com

rachelwojo.com

So when you feel lost or abandoned, are hurting or sad, find yourself confused or depressed…reach out to God!  Let Him fill your heart to overflowing, giving you peace beyond understanding, providing hope for a better, brighter tomorrow, and showering you with love that covers all the hurt and pain.

Pick up the scriptures, open up to Psalms, and make God personal for you!  Absorb his words and let them inspire you!  I have done just that, and found my heart begin to repair, my thoughts start to align with God’s, and my anxiety slowly fade.  When I hit my lows in this life, I have taken many a scripture that inspired me and created my own Psalm–prayer, song, or love letter–to God!  It has been therapeutic to release it all to the One True God who is bigger than anything I face, and who has only my best interest at heart (Jeremiah 29:11).  So take a moment, write your own Psalm, your own prayer, song, or love letter to the Lord…giving him all that overwhelms you!  In release you CAN find peace! 

In his love and grace!

Bow down Your ear, O Lord, hear me; for I am poor and needy.
Preserve my life, for I am holy, You are my God;
Save Your servant who trusts in You.
Be merciful to me, O Lord, for I cry to You all day long.
~ Psalm 86:1-3

Personal Psalm

My heart yearns for You
Hear my plea O Lord
Consider my suffering
Darkness dwells within my soul
Keeping me away from You
Hindering Your will
Help me Lord
Heal this unending pain
Light up my soul
Fill me with Your presence
Consume me with Your love

Related Articles:

The Gift of Peace  (grace to you)

7 Benefits of the Peace of God (Godly Woman)

The Gift of Peace (RachelWojo.com)

Choose!

All of life comes to one ultimate question….darkness or light, evil or good, sinner or saint?  Every decision leans one way or the other.  Every action takes a side, whether you consciously choose it or not.  Every word uttered is a reflection of the heart and reveals which side of the fence the speaker is on.  Even inaction is an action, is a choice, is a decision made that answers the internal question of evil or good.

You battle everyday with choices set before you.  The battles may occur at work, at home, during down time, in the busiest time of the day, with family, friends, or coworkers.  Choices are made in everything at every moment of every day of your life.  The choice you make reflects who you are as a person, your character, your beliefs, and your values.

So, I ask you:  What do your choices reveal about you?  Do they show your faithfulness to God or to yourself and this world?  Do they reflect love and humility towards others, or show pride, arrogance, and a lack of affection?  Is what you say encouraging and renewing, or do your words tear others down?  Or worse yet, do you stand silent, not taking a stand at all?  Remember the choice to do, say, or believe nothing is a choice!

As you approach the new year, take some time to examine your heart, soul, and mind, placing them open before God.  Let him in.  Let him convict you of areas you need to improve.  Let him show you areas where you are strong.  Let God examine you and bring you to a place of light and goodness.  Let him take the sinner that you are and make you a saint in His eyes.

You are God’s child and he can show you the way of righteousness.  He can lead you down the path that is designed for you.  Trust in him, knowing that he will always guide, guard, and keep you in his love.

All my love and may the God of unending peace and wisdom bring you clarity and conviction, leading to eternal life. ❤

Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts:
  see if there be any wicked way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.  ~ Psalm 139:23-24

eisakouo.com

eisakouo.com

Put on the full armor of God,
so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood,
but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness,
against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.  Ephesians 6:12

Choose

The devil comes knocking on the door of your heart
Evil coursing through his veins
Polluting your thoughts
Pouring darkness into your heart
Devouring your soul
Torturing your flesh
Stop
Breath
Release

faithcoffeeandbluejeans.blogspot.com

faithcoffeeandbluejeans.blogspot.com

Relinquish control
Give it all to God
There is nothing too ugly
No sin too bad
Darkness cannot hide
God is stronger than all the devil’s tricks and deception
The Lord brings truth to the mind
Showers the heart with His light
Restores the soul
Strengthens the flesh
Stop
Breath
Release