Two Heal Better Than One

“I called you so often, but you wouldn’t come. I reached out to you, but you paid no attention.”

‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭1:24‬ ‭NLT‬‬

How often do we exhaust our energy on those who matter least and push away those who matter most in our lives? Why is it when we’re most broken we isolate ourselves instead of allowing the love of Christ to glue us back together through the support and encouragement of our loved ones? Why do we believe we have to walk through our toughest moments all alone?

I’ll tell you why-Because we believe the enemy’s lies. We allow the lie of pride to make us stubborn and refuse to admit we need help. We allow the lie of shame to make us feel unworthy of help. We allow the lie of pain to shutdown our hearts vowing to never love again. If we refuse to love again, we can’t possibly receive love either. We allow our past mistakes to haunt our present and prevent the idea we could possibly have a victorious future. The truth is, pride, shame, unworthiness, hearts of stone and haunting pasts do not come from God. Do you know what does? Forgiveness, healing, redemption, restoration, unity and fellowship.

In Isaiah 61, he tells his readers in verse one; “The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me…He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and to proclaim that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed.” In Ecclesiastes 4, Solomon starts off verse nine with “Two are better than one.” He continues in verses 10 through 12 with this passage: “If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.” If those passages aren’t convincing enough, check out this passage from Genesis. After God created Adam he decided this; “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him.” (Genesis 2:18)

Adam had Eve. Abraham had Lot, Sarah and Isaac. Moses had Aaron. David had Jonathan. The two spies had Rahab. Ruth was gifted Boaz after God took the life of her first husband. Mary and Joseph had each other. Jesus had His disciples. Paul had Timothy and Titus. You and I have people too. But the people God has anointed to bind up our broken hearts can’t do so if we push them away. They especially are limited when you or I exhaust our energy on our enemies or busyness and make little time to connect with them.

If you have a stressful job with a toxic manager and you allow yourself to be consumed with frustration, how much energy is left at the end of the day for your family that’s waiting at home? If you have a toxic ex who knows exactly how to entice you into an argument, how open is your heart to even engaging in a conversation with another that fosters love and encouragement? If you’re walking in a state of rejection keeping a tally of all the times you’ve been dumped, how can you possibly recognize someone who genuinely shows an interest in investing in you? The answer to all of these questions is-you can’t.

We only have so much energy and our attention spans are only so long. If we are exhausting ourselves fighting with our enemies, fretting over things we cannot control or walking with rejection like it’s our best friend, then there’s no room for those who truly care about us, for those with sincere hearts, to step in and bind up our brokenness. God can fix us on His own. He doesn’t need any help. But if that’s what His plan was He wouldn’t have designed families, friendships or marriage. He wouldn’t stress the importance of togetherness or anoint others to heal. He certainly wouldn’t have said “For where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them.” (Matthew‬ ‭18:20‬ ‭NLT‬‬)

I’m guilty of isolating myself because of fear, pride and shame. I’m guilty of exhausting my energy on useless arguments with toxic people and having minimal leftover for those I love most. I’m even guilty of walking in a spirit of rejection and closing myself off to love. I’m mostly guilty of crying out for His healing, begging Him to bind up my broken heart but pushing away the people He uses to do it. If you’re focusing your attention on the wrong people and pushing away the right ones-then my friend, you’re guilty to. Guilty people get a conviction but this one is a convicted spirit. There will be no condemnation.

We have a Heavenly Father who chooses forgiveness and is a God of multiple chances. It is never His desire for us to live wounded. In fact, Isaiah tells us in chapter 53 verse five “But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was crushed for our wickedness [our sin, our injustice, our wrongdoing]; The punishment [required] for our well-being fell on Him, And by His stripes (wounds) we are healed.” ‬‬It is His desire to cleanse from all our sin, break the chains of brokenness and restore us in His redeeming love.

Confession is the key. In order to be redeemed we’ve got to come clean with ourselves and Jesus about the lies we’ve believed. We must tap into His superhuman strength in order to walk away from toxic relationships. We’ve got to ask the Holy Spirit to open our hearts to be able to accept love. If we refuse the love of others, that love given becomes seed that lands on hard ground and is never planted. Healing and wholeness is an intentional choice that involves refuting the enemies lies, letting go of past mistakes, exposing old wounds and allowing others to come in administer a spiritual first aid that is bound in love, affirmation and redemption.

Think about this-When you or I sustain a physical wound that is beyond the capabilities of peroxide and a band-aid, we seek out medical treatment that may involve stitches or other more intensive care. The same is true for emotional and spiritual wounds. These wounds are way to hard to fix on our own. We have to seek out comfort and godly companionship so these wounds can be permanently closed and we can walk in wholeness again. God wants to use your spouse or future spouse, your family, and your best friends in Christ to bind up your broken heart. Stop fighting with those who seek to destroy you. Instead, turn your attention and spend your energy on those who seek to restore you. Allow them to pray with you and over you. Allow them to cry with you and hold you. Most of all, allow them to love you as Christ designed them to.

James 5:16 is the perfect ending for today’s post: “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.” Find the ones God is has sent to bind up your broken heart. Open your arms up to them, break down the walls you’ve been hiding behind, be transparent and let them pour out His love into you.

‭‭

‭‭

Advertisements

A Downpour or a Sprinkle?

“He calmed the storm to a whisper and stilled the waves.”

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭107:29‬ ‭NLT‬‬

I believe everyone goes through storms in life. Some storms come in the form of financial despair, loss of a loved one, the end of a relationship, a rebellious child or maybe dealing with some sort of addiction. A stressful situation of any kind, especially the kind that seem to last for years or as if they’re endless, can feel like you’re walking against the wind of a full blown hurricane with no shelter in place to escape. But sometimes, what we imagine or expect to be a storm turns out to only be a little sprinkle. Let me give you two examples of what I’m talking about.

This past Independence Day, the morning started out very hot. My family and I “puddled” as we endured the humid temps watching a parade that celebrated our nation’s birthday. By afternoon we were lethargic and becoming stagnant because no one wanted to move in the heat. Normally we would’ve gone to the beach but this year we had different plans that turned into a day of “playing it by ear.”

Me, being a creature of habit and feeling overheated, felt a strong need to get to a lake. So my niece and I headed to the local lake that has a beautiful walkway trimmed around it. As we were driving the sky started to rumble and large drops of rain sporadically hit the windshield of my vehicle. The clouds didn’t look too stormy and judging by the rain droplets, I assumed whatever was brewing was going to blow over quickly.

For a moment, I was right. By the time we parked and headed on our walk by the lake, there were no raindrops. However, in a few short minutes that changed dramatically. The rain formed a steady sprinkle and by the time we were halfway into our walk we were caught in a massive down pour. When it started raining sideways we decided it was best to turn around and head back to the car.

Did I mention there was limited shelter in the area and lightning was striking over the lakeshore periodically? My niece and I could’ve panicked. But for some reason we just laughed as the rain flooded our heads, faces and clothing. In fact at one point the rain was coming down so hard I could barely keep my eyes open to see where we were going. Once we reached shelter we paused enough to get the water off our eyes and then head back out in order to reach my vehicle and drive home. Once in the vehicle, I had to wring out my shirt and my seats became drenched from soaked clothing. Nonetheless, this was one of the best moments of my life. The rain cooled us off and it was a rare memory that created much laughter with my niece also.

This morning the skies got loud again. The rumbling sound drew me outside to see what was happening. Dark gray clouds were heading my direction and getting noisier the closer they came. The wind was picking up as well. All signs showed one doozy of a storm about to hit. I returned inside and waited for more. Guess what-aside from a five second down pour, this morning’s display was “all talk” with very little action.

Circumstances in life are very much the same way. Sometimes we are hit by situations that nearly blow us over. Sometimes what we expect to be a major uproar turns out to be just a bunch of noise and nothing more. Sometimes, like my niece and I did by the lake, we heed the warning signs and find ourselves up to our eyeballs in a storm that could’ve been avoided. Sure my niece and I made it out and we shared one heck of a laugh as we went through the process but in stormy life circumstances most people aren’t laughing nor do they even know how to get themselves out.

No matter if you’re in a downpour or experiencing a sprinkle, Jesus is the master of the storms. Whether He chooses to calm the storm (like He did for the disciples) or allow you to experience a typhoon like Paul did as a prisoner on a ship, Jesus controls the storm. Even self created storms (brought on by our own sinful choices) can be calmed when we surrender to Jesus and seek His redemption. Jesus may use the storm to break you, but never to destroy you. Also, if you’re being broken by Him, He’s only breaking off what doesn’t honor Him in order for you to grow deeper in and closer to Him.

What situation are you facing today that feels like a major storm? Examine how you got there, confess anything that was self-made (including any lack of trust or disbelief you may be experiencing) and stand on His promise that He will calm your storm and still the waves. Also-ask God for discernment to heed the warning signs and also to know the difference between circumstances that are downpours and ones that are really just light sprinkles or sporadic raindrops.

Hypocrites and Holy People (or Sinners Saved By Grace)

“…He [Christ] gave up his life for her to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word.”

‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭5:25b-26 NLT

How’s your sin life? Yes you read that correctly and no, there is no auto correct typo in that question. How is your sin life? Many devotionals focus on a person’s prayer life or their walk with Jesus but how often do we focus on the path we take in our daily sins or with ongoing strongholds that continue to set us back spiritually? God doesn’t want us to dwell on our past or worship our sin but I believe He definitely wants us to examine our hearts and allow Him to cleanse us from all that keeps us stagnant in our relationship with Him.

I’ve been called many hurtful things in my lifetime and a “hypocrite” is one of them. Truth be told, I’ve even referred to myself as a hypocrite thinking this description made me more real than sanctimonious. In fact, I had planned on titling this post “I am a Hypocrite” and writing more of a confessional than a devotional. Looking up the definition of a hypocrite and seeing what God’s word says about this word changed my mind.

The dictionary defines a hypocrite as; ” a person who puts on a false appearance of virtue or religion…” (Merriam-Webster) God’s word describes a hypocrite as someone who puts on a show in their faith for attention and public praise (Matthew 6:2, 5 and 12.) The Bible also tells us hypocrites honor the Lord with their mouths but their hearts are far from Him (Mark 7:6.) One common word to define hypocrite found in both the dictionary and the Bible is “LIAR.” There are times I am an attention seeker but one thing I am not is a liar.

Lying is the top character trait I have zero tolerance or grace for. The lack of grace is obviously a flaw in my own character and one I continue to have to surrender to the Lord allowing Him to soften my heart toward. After all, if Christ died for my lifetime of sins, I definitely need to be able to forgive someone who has lied to me or lied about me, right? I guess this post is a bit of a confessional after all and my lack of grace for liars is confession number one.

So here’s confession number two-I fail in my Christian walk every. single. day. Some ongoing strongholds I have are unforgiveness and holding on to past hurts, keeping my heart closed off to protect myself from getting hurt again, cussing, worrying, grumbling and gossiping. In one confession I have managed to admit that I do not always practice what I preach. But my posts aren’t written in a self-righteous or “holier than thou” manner where I’m esteeming my walk and pointing out the flaws in yours. In my childhood, I attended a church where the pastor preached from a pulpit of self-righteousness and his flock were the ones who were “wretches”. I prayed the prayer of salvation every Sunday in that church and never felt good enough t be redeemed by the Blood of the Lamb. I loved my childhood in a state of constant shame and fear of a wrathful God.

My posts are written from the depths of the muddied waters I travel through daily in hopes that my fellow mud puddle dwellers can be inspired to draw closer to Jesus and to seek His cleansing. I use my own personal experiences to show that I also strive to pursue His cleansing for my own journey. I am far from perfect. In fact, here’s a few more strongholds I struggle with:

  • I get angry and in my anger, I sin. One thing my momma used to say was “Her mouth is going to get her in trouble.” She’s been right about that far too many times.
  • I over spend and am a slave to debt. It’s why I work two jobs and don’t regularly tithe. I struggle with many sleepless nights worrying about how a bill is going to get paid or how I’m going to meet all the financial obligations I have.
  • I haven’t attended church regularly in two years. I’ve been church shopping and in a season of busyness where I choose to skip church just because I’m tired and want one full day to be home and be still. I also use the excuse that I haven’t found a church I’m drawn to as much as I was drawn to my old church.
  • I’m not always faithful in my devotionals and prayer time. Most days my prayers are more like “oh yeah hey God-I made you last again today but yeah you know I still love ya.” At night, lying in bed my prayers can become obsessive over my own needs and wants, lifetime longings and dwelling on my mistakes that I forget to pray for anyone else.
  • I struggle with lust. I’m single, never married and have two biological children. I’ve lived with more than one man in my lifetime. I’m definitely a modern day version of the woman at the well. …The list could go on and on but I think you get the picture.

For 2018, I am working on allowing God to define me and my character. I have spent far too many years defining my character based on how my critics describe me. One thing God is showing me that I am and am not is this-I am holy and I am not a hypocrite. You see when we give our hearts to Jesus, He covers us in His blood and makes us white as snow (Isaiah 1:18.) We are no longer a slave to sin but we become slaves to righteous living (Romans 6:18.) We are adopted as sons and daughters of the One True King (Romans 8:15.) God makes us holy (Hebrews 2:11).

Guess what the definition of Holy is: “specially recognized as or declared sacred…consecrated…dedicated or devoted to the service of God.” (Dictionary.com) The word consecrated means “set apart” which God shows us is exactly who we are in Psalm 4:3 when David acknowledges that the Lord set apart the godly for Himself. He shows us again in many examples in the New Testament where references are made about being a new creation, made holy and set apart for His glory. Believers whose hearts belong to Jesus cannot be hypocrites. Yes we sin. Yes we have strongholds that interfere with our relationship with Jesus. Yes we don’t always practice what we preach. Paul wrote it best when in Romans he confesses this: “…The trouble is with me, for I am all too human, a slave to sin. I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate. But if I know that what I am doing is wrong, this shows that I agree that the law is good. So I am not the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it. And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t. I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. But if I do what I don’t want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it.” (Romans‬ ‭7:14-20‬ ‭NLT‬‬)

But we are also redeemed by Jesus and saved by Grace.

I urge you to examine your sin life and confess every stronghold you’re still a slave to. Look up and meditate on scripture that may help you overcome those strongholds that make you feel like a failure. Strive for holiness in your daily walk but give yourself grace when you stumble and fall. Don’t lie and especially don’t pretend to be someone you’re not. Lastly, no matter how many times you sin today, lay it down before the Lord and see yourself as holy, but never. ever. call yourself a hypocrite.

Lord Above, I Need A Miracle

There’s a Third Day song titled “I Need A Miracle.” The chorus goes like this: “Well no matter who you are and no matter what you’ve done, there will come a time when you can’t make it on your own. And in your hour of desperation know you’re not the only one, praying Lord above, I Need a Miracle.”

Hour of desperation is a pretty powerful lyric. How many have experienced such a time in their life? What does desperation even look like? Hour of desperation is that moment when your circumstance or situation seems completely hopeless. Maybe your jobless and you just ran out of money with rent due tomorrow. Maybe you’re in an abusive relationship and your partner just got drunk again which means it won’t be long before the angry words fly or holes get punched in another wall. Maybe you have a child who’s wandered away from the Christian foundation you built while raising her and says she has no belief in God. Maybe you married the wrong person and you feel stuck because God hates divorce or maybe you’re going through a divorce after marrying a person you believed was from the Lord but turned out to be a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Maybe just maybe, you’re fighting a chronic illness or was just given news of cancer with only moments left of this life and told there’s nothing modern medicine can do. All of these situations and many others not listed are hours of desperation and definitely needs for miracles.

When we pray-God answers. He doesn’t always answer exactly the way we hope or expected, but He answers. Sometimes His answers are provision, redemption, transformation, healing or reconciliation. But sometimes His answers involved a painful refining process where our world is turned upside down and it feels as though He answered completely opposite of what we asked for. What we don’t realize is that refinement is a transforming, redeeming and healing answer that molds us deeper into His image and changes us more into who He designed us to be.

Whatever your Miracle is know this-God is with you. He hears you. And He will answer in His time and His way. When you can’t see His mighty hand moving, cling to the cross-lay your burden down at the alter and trust His way and His timing. Meditate on His word and remind yourself of these words from Jesus Himself:

“Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me.

Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me. If you had really known me, you would know who my Father is. From now on, you do know him and have seen him!”

Don’t you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words I speak are not my own, but my Father who lives in me does his work through me. Just believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me. Or at least believe because of the work you have seen me do. “I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father. You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father. Yes, ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it!”

‭‭John‬ ‭14:1, 6-7, 10-14‬ ‭NLT‬‬

If I can pray for you, please email me at http://www.thewrightwordblogger@gmail.com

The Voice of Truth

“And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.””

‭‭John‬ ‭8:32‬ ‭NLT‬‬

As we go about our daily lives we engage with many voices throughout the day. Some of those voices are encouraging, some are critical. Some voices are loud and direct while others are barely audible and more passive. Nonetheless, these voices tend to skew the way we see and carry ourselves. We give a lot of power to these voices but the only one that truly matters-the one that can truly define us, is the voice of God.

But first-let’s look at the different voices. There are voices of encouragement. These are messages that build you up, strengthen you and motivated you. These can come from your family and friends who love and support you. Heck, maybe they come from Tony Robbins, Joyce Meyers, Bishop T.D. Jakes or Steven Furtick by means of a self-help book, devotional or YouTube video. Whatever the form, these voices help you walk taller, see yourself in a positive matter and display a “can do” kind of attitude.

Then we have the critical voices. These voices see your flaws and define you only by your worst moments or mistakes you’ve made. These voices condemn you, berate you and can cut deep and severe emotional wounds. They leave you seeing yourself in a very lowly manner. If you listen to them long enough these voices can lead to you feeling depressed, anxious and believing you are what these voices tell you. Ironically-these voices always seem louder and more direct than any voice of encouragement. Truth be told-these voices are liars.

The voice of truth is God’s voice. Since we are His creation, his voice is the only one that can truly define us. It’s also the only one we should be listening too. However, God’s voice isn’t always easy to hear or recognize. David describes the voice of the Lord as a thunderous roar that echoed above seas (Psalms 29:3), is powerful and majestic (Psalms 29:4), strikes with bolts of lightning (Psalms 29:7), and can split might cedars (Psalms 29:5.) In 2 Samuel 22:14, the voice of God “thundered from Heaven”, and in 1 Thessalonians 4:16 we read that the voice of the Lord is a commanding shout. Thunder, echoes, shouting-these words all describe LOUD! Yet far too often, the liars are louder than the voice of truth. How can they be, what can we do about it and who are we really according to the voice of Truth?

In biblical times, we read multiple examples of God speaking directly to His people. I firmly believe He still speaks to us directly through His word and the Holy Spirit but in today’s day an age we have to remove all distractions and get quiet before Him to really hear His voice. I believe this because of the passage in 1 Kings 19 when Elijah is at his lowest point, asking God to End his life and God speaks to him. “Go out and stand before me on the mountain,” the Lord told him. And as Elijah stood there, the Lord passed by, and a mighty windstorm hit the mountain. It was such a terrible blast that the rocks were torn loose, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. And a voice said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” (Verses 11-13.) God’s voice was a soft whisper. Can you hear whispers in the middle of noise and chaos or are whispers best heard in stillness and silence? Why else would God tell us is Psalms 46:10 to “be still and know that [He] is God.” And again in Exodus 14:14 when promising to fight for us He says, “you need only to be still.” We can’t hear God because we’re too busy, too distracted and most likely to stuck on the critical voices that tell us we are the opposite of who God creates us to be.

What can we do about it? This is going to sound simple and cliché but we can stop, drop (to our knees) and pray. We have to carve out moments of silence daily to get into God’s word, the only source of really truth, and be still before Him. We have to pray for open hearts and open ears with the God-given ability to hear His voice and then allow the Holy Spirit to guide us and speak to us. We have to be patient when we spend a day or weeks in these moments hearing nothing at all. We have to persevere and choose to stand on His truth every day. Most importantly, we have to recognize the voice of God over the voice of the creator of lies. God’s voice will always coincide with His word. God’s voice will always be pure, peace loving, gentle, full of mercy and sincere. (James 3:17). It is never condemning and will not remind you of your mistakes. (Romans 8:1, 2 Corinthians 2:5)

So who does God say we are? First and foremost we are HIS! James 1:18 confirms that with this: “He chose to give birth to us by giving us his true word. And we, out of all creation, became his prized possession.” A prized possession is a priceless treasure that is safe guarded, protected and preciously cared for just as God Himself, treasures, protects and delicately cares for us. We are also FORGIVEN! 1 John 2:12 states it very matter-of-fact like: “I am writing to you who are God’s children because your sins have been forgiven through Jesus.” Luke 7:47 reinforces that with, “““I tell you, her sins—and they are many—have been forgiven, so she has shown me much love…” and 1 John 1:9 promises that “if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.”

‭‭

God also say we are LOVED. He confirms this in 1 John 4:19 “we love because she first loved us.” For those who have never been unconditionally loved, this one is probably the hardest to understand. How can someone love you in spite of your failures? How can someone love before you were even born? For God it’s quite simple-God is love and He creates our inmost beings. He loves us because He created us and He knows us more intricately than we or anyone else can ever know us. One of the best ways to combat our critics to let go of their harsh words and cling to God’s love for us. It’s the only way we can rise above hate and truly walk in love.

There are many more things God says about us and you can find them all in His word. We have a choice to listen to the voice of critics or the voice of truth. When the enemy strikes you with harsh words, when liars try to remind you of your past or haters criticize you out of jealousy or selfish ambition, stand on God’s truth and if you can’t cling to His love just yet, cling to this one simple verse: “But the voice from heaven spoke again: ‘Do not call something unclean if God has made it clean.” Acts 11:9 If you’re a child of God, He has made you clean no matter what dirty mistakes you’ve made. You are not who your critics say you are. You are exactly who God says you are. Walk as the hold of God He made you to be.

Rotten Bananas and Caterpillar Cocoons

I love to bake.  I’m not a great cook (I’ve even burned hard boiled eggs and that has to take a real talent to accomplish) but I love to bake.  I especially love to listen to reggae music while baking dozens of cookies at Christmas time.  I know reggae is not traditional Christmas music but listening to it in the middle of winter makes me feel like I’m on a tropical island somewhere and beaches and sunshine bring me joy and peace.

One of my favorite things to bake lately is banana bread.  I found a delightful recipe online and I enjoy adding different things from time to time to embellish it (like peanut butter chips, chocolate chips and once I drizzled it with caramel.)  Recently I added carob chips to the mix which is a great chocolate replacement.  I have to say, (and I know this sounds prideful but if you ever ate my regular cooking you would understand) adding the carob chips was hands down the best version of banana bread I have ever made.  I’m actually going to make a batch tonight for a work meeting tomorrow.

This week as I had bananas on my counter that I was awaiting to be ready to make some bread.  Anyone who has ever baked banana bread knows that bananas are “ready” for use when they’re blackened (or as I like to say, rotten.)  Banana bread is made with rotten bananas.  That doesn’t sound very appetizing and some may prefer to use the word, “ripened” but in reality, blackened bananas are rotting bananas.  Looking at those black bananas on my counter I started thinking about how something that is decaying can be transformed into something so delightfully tasty?  And the more I thought about it I thought about how God does a similar thing to all of us.  But I’ll get to that in a moment.

A few days ago I felt God speak to me about caterpillars (I actually dreamt about caterpillars transforming into butterflies.)  God spoke the words “belly crawler” to me regarding caterpillars.  In a sense, caterpillars are little belly crawlers are they not?  Most people don’t find caterpillars appealing-some are even grossed out by them.  But what happens to a caterpillar?  It forms a cocoon and eventually hatches into a delicate and spectacular butterfly. Interesting to think that God created a belly crawling creature that can morph into a majestic winged display of His beauty that soars with grace and elegance.   But you see God is a God of transformation and that’s what He put on my heart to share with you all today.

The word transformation means “a thorough or dramatic change in form or appearance.”  Some synonyms for transformation include; “about-face”, “changeover” “radical change”, “renewal” and “transfiguration.”  A few of these words you will find in scripture also.  The most common verse on transformation is Romans 12:2 where Paul tells us to “not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind…” Another scripture, this time using the word “renew” comes from Psalm 51:10 where David prays asking God to “create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”  Even Jesus Himself transfigured before the disciples, and “His face shone like the sun…His garments became as white as light.”  (Mathew 17:2.)

The Bible is full of stories of how God transformed lives also.  In the old testament Joseph was sold into slavery, falsely imprisoned and God transformed him into the 2nd highest leader of his country in order to save the lives of many people.  He transformed David, an underrated shepherd boy into not only the King of Judah but also a man after God’s own heart.  God transformed Job from a wealthy man to a broken man to a man who was doubly restored.  In the New Testament He transformed a tax collector into a follower of Christ (Zacchaeus-Luke chapter 19.)  Jesus also transformed Lazarus from a dead guy into a walking, talking, living, breathing miracle (John chapter 11.)  But the greatest example of transformation would be when God did an about-face in Paul, originally Saul, a man who hated Christians and was a key player in even the stoning of one of Jesus’ disciples.

Acts chapter 9 recounts the story of what happened when God moved in Saul’s life and transformed him into Paul a man who was imprisoned repeatedly for fiercely preaching God’s word.  In verse 1 Paul (actually Saul at the time) is described as “still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples.”  That’s a man that could be described as one seriously rotten banana or evil belly crawler.  Yet God saw the potential for transformation.  Even though it took temporary blindness to get his attention, Saul converted and was transformed into Paul.  The books of Acts, Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians and Philippians are just a few of the books that depict Paul’s ministry-his bold passion for serving God, the trials and tribulations he endured and his tenacity to press on even more to win souls to Christ.  The best part of Paul’s transformation when you read about him in later books of the NT you if you hadn’t known his history you would’ve never guessed he was actually an enemy of God before he converted.  That’s major transformation when God turns you into someone your past could never recognize isn’t it?

Do you believe God can do that you?  He most definitely can.  If God cares enough to use rotten bananas to make a deliciously sweet and fluffy bread, if He cares enough to transform a slimy belly crawling bug into something that is so beautiful that you want to chase after it, and if He can change a murdering Christian hater into one of His own Apostles, than He can most definitely, undoubtedly transform you.  Are you willing to let go and let Him transform you?  Are you ready to let go of your past and see yourself the way God sees you?  No matter what you’ve done or what consequences you’re facing, no matter the hardships you are dealing with right now if you look to Jesus, He will transform you, in His time and in His way.  And the you He made you to be will be unrecognizable to the old you.  He proves it in 2 Corinthians 5:17 when Paul writes, “This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!”  Don’t forget-Paul wrote this because he lived it and so can you!

Still need more evidence of God’s transformation?  Check out this testimony by Todd White:  https://youtu.be/IN7Xkl1JFZ4  My favorite part of Todd’s testimony is the fact that his daughter has no memory of the life he lived in addiction.  Only God has the power to do that!

A Modern Day Hester

If you’ve ever read the novel, The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne, you are familiar with the main character, Hester Prynne, who was publicly punished for having an affair.  Her punishment included imprisonment and standing in the town square for hours wearing a red A on her clothing (the A stood for adulteress.)  Hester had a child by her lover but chose to never disclose who the lover was despite the threatening pressure she endured.  In fact, the only time she fought back was when select townspeople threatened to take her child away when the child started acting out.  The story is full of deception, secret lives and guilt stricken consciences.  In the end, Hester carries on, wearing her scarlet A with no healing from the mistake she made.

I am a modern day Hester.  Now before I go any further let me clarify-this is NOT a confession of having an affair nor am I pregnant with a love child.  But-I have made some pretty sinful mistakes in my life and if I had lived in the puritan era like Hester, I would’ve been her cell mate. My scarlet letter probably would have covered my entire body.  Like I said, this is not a confession. In fact, guilt rarely even has control over me anymore.  This is transparency for my readers in hopes to raise awareness of forgiveness, mercy, grace and healing.

I was called a “loser” recently.  Being call that not only shocked me but it greatly stung.  In fact, in nearly knocked me down.  I was called a loser because of a mistake I made.  It was a mistake made from a broken heart and out of mass confusion. I confessed it not only to God but to the person who called me this name trusting that person would be understanding and forgiving. They weren’t.  They were angry and instead of mercy and grace, they verbally pinned me with a big old scarlet L (for loser.)  This is not the first time I’ve been called names for making a mistake.  My “favorites” are being called “a head case” when I had post-partum depression, and “a financial disaster” because I struggle with money management.

We are all human.  We ALL have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23.) David was an adulterer and a murderer.  Do you know what God did to him?  Made him king of Judah.  Moses was also a murderer and a coward.  God chose him to take on Pharaoh and lead God’s chosen people out of slavery.  Rahab was a prostitute and God used her to hide His spies who came later to conquer the city she lived in.  God did punish them-David and Bathsheba lost the child that was conceived by their affair.  Moses was exiled for 40 years after committing murder and I’m sure Rahab lived a fairly miserable life as a prostitute.  But God also redeemed them.  And once redeemed, He then promoted them!  That’s just how God works.

God doesn’t call us names.  If He is tearing us down it’s only to remove the bad.  Any tear down from God is guaranteed to have a major build up and fill up with His forgiveness, grace and mercy. God calls us to the do same with each other.  His word is full of scriptures like; “But you, dear friends, must build each other up in your most holy faith… (Jude 1:21), “So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing” (1 Thessalonians 5:11), “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near” (Hebrews 10:23-25) and “Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8.)  The Bible does call us to admonish one another but He does not call us to shame or condemn one another.  In fact, He says the opposite in Romans 8:1; “So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.”  That verse is pretty straight forward and if your Christian walk is anything like mine then we both need straight forward, aye?

Driving to work today, God reminded me of Hawthorne’s novel.  He played a Casting Crowns song for me on the radio with these lyrics,

“Not because of who I am

But because of what You’ve done.

Not because of what I’ve done

But because of who You are…

Lord, You catch me when I’m falling.

And You’ve told me who I am.

I am Yours, I am Yours…

Who am I, that the eyes that see my sin

Would look on me with love and watch me rise again?” ~Who am I

He then spoke to me with these words, “You don’t wear a scarlet A or L, Beloved.  The blood I shed on the cross for you removed every transgression I knew you would commit in your lifetime.  Beloved, the cross took that A and L away.  I have emblazoned you with a new letter-a V, washed white as snow.  It stands for the victory you have in Me.”

Ironically, when googling those above song lyrics, I stumbled upon the lyrics to one of my favorite songs by Jessica Andrews.  It’s called, Who I am.  The second verse in this song is my anthem;

“So when I make big mistake

When I fall flat on my face

I know I’ll be alright

Should my tender heart be broken

I will cry those teardrops knowin’

I will be just fine

‘Cause nothin’ changes who I am..”

I know who I am.  I am not a loser, a head case or a financial disaster.  Who am I?  A modern day Hester redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ.  I AM the DAUGHTER of the ONE TRUE KING, His Princess and His only.  No cruel word will ever change that.

For those living in a pit of guilt and shame-get out!  Shake it off and straighten your crown.  For you too are redeemed, washed white as snow and wear a V for victory on your heart.  Live victoriously as the son or daughter of Christ that you were made to be.  For those casting stones, stop it!  Stop forming a firing squad.  If your heart is hurting and your angry then pause and pray.  Ask God to fill you with the grace and mercy for those whose mistakes hurt you.  But remember what Jesus said to the Pharisees who wanted to condemn a woman caught in adultery in John 8:7, “They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” God called us to be bridge builders-not stone throwers.

He Never Promised Us a Rose Garden

For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven. A time to be born and a time to die. A time to kill and a time to heal…A time to cry and a time to laugh. A time to grieve and a time to dance.”  Ecclesiastes 3:1-4 NLT

Can I be bold with you?  Sometimes life just sucks.  For those of you offended by that word, please forgive me but honestly in some situations there’s really no better non-cuss word to use.  Seriously think about it-throughout history there has been generations of people who endured much suffering and I am certain there are people right now in your family or neighborhood who seem to repeatedly get dealt an unlucky hand in the poker game we call life.  Sometimes-we are that person who’s parade is ever being rained on and no matter how hard we fight, crawl, climb, scrape and cry-out for help it seems we’re continuously being knocked down and will forever remain in a pit of bad-luck and despair.

I’ve had my share of “bad luck”-my life has been a whirlwind of high hopes and deep disappointments. I’ve experience sudden deaths of loved ones including my step-dad when I was just 7-years-old.  In my 20’s I lost the one man who was a constant in my life, my grandfather, to lung cancer.  Add to that the betrayal of friends, a few abusive relationships, growing up around violent alcoholics and at times feeling abandoned by own biological father, you could say my life hasn’t been all sunshine and roses. There have been years I felt like I was just moving in circles and other years I felt I was running on a hamster wheel striving to rise above all the junk but really just going nowhere and wearing myself out in the process.

To make matters worse, I’ve seen people I care deeply about have their whole lives turned upside by major tragedies-sometimes it’s a sickness, sometimes it’s a family member (or themselves) battling an addiction, other times it’s a break-up or divorce, sometimes it’s the sudden loss of a loved one or the untimely death of a family member or a friend due to a lengthy illness.  Then I turn on the news or read online and tragedy is splattered everywhere.  Just last week I watched a video of a shell-shocked boy, only 8-years-old being pulled away from rubble and left alone in an ambulance while rescue workers searched for other survivors and casualties.  The clip showed him completely  gray in color covered in ash, with no emotion on his face.  He rubbed his eye, barely blinking, touched his bloodied head and looked at his hand.  The sight of blood on his hand didn’t even excite or upset him.

I cannot tell you how many times I have cried over the tragedy of others.  My heart breaks over my own disappointments and losses but when I see others hurting or going through a trial that just doesn’t make sense I cry for them, I get angry at God for them and there are times I simply ask God, “Why?”  Other times I cry out, “God this is so unfair!”  And I cover them in prayer whenever they come to mind.  When I see others hurting I also tend to want to hug them until their hurt goes away.  I want to make them feel better and make them whole again.  I forget that I am not God and He alone is the One True Healer.  Only God can turn broken hearts into whole ones again.  His word not only says so, He shows how He does it through Job and Ruth.

Ruth was a young widow in a foreign country. Her mother-in-law, Naomi, was engulfed with grief after losing not only her husband but also her two sons.  The only family she had left was her two daughters-in-law.  In that culture it was normal for a sibling to marry his brother’s widow.  Alas, for Ruth and her sister-in-law this was not an option as both siblings were deceased.  Naomi felt her daughters-in-law would be better off returning to their home country for a chance to find new husbands and bare children.  Neither wanted to leave her at first, but after a little urging Ruth’s sister-in-law left Naomi and returned to her home land.  Ruth however clung to Naomi.  One of my favorite verses in the Bible is when Ruth says to Naomi, “Don’t ask me to leave you and turn back. Wherever you go, I will go; wherever you live, I will live. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God.” (Ruth 1:16 NLT) And Ruth’s persistence pays off because Naomi finally permits Ruth to stay with her.  That decision ends up being the turning point in changing both Naomi and Ruth’s circumstance from despair to redemption.  Ruth lost her husband. Naomi lost her son.  But God placed them in the hands of a kinsman redeemer who became Ruth’s husband and in a way an honorary son to Naomi.  In the ends, Naomi’s friends (or moreover perhaps the town gossips) praise God by saying, “Praise the Lord, who has now provided a redeemer for your family! May this child be famous in Israel. May he restore your youth and care for you in your old age. For he is the son of your daughter-in-law who loves you and has been better to you than seven sons!” (Ruth 4:14-15 NLT)

The other example of God moving a pit dweller into a land walker is good ole’ Job.  In Job 1, he is introduced as a man who fear God and stayed away from evil.  He was also a man who was very wealthy, married and had several children.  Life you could say for Job was “smooth-sailing.”  Along comes satan who mocks Job’s faith by implying Job was only a follower of Christ because God had given him such an easy life.  God’s response?  He allowed the belly-crawler that satan is to attack Job and test his faith.  First Job lost his livelihood.  He had no time to absorb this kind of a hit before he was informed ALL of his children were killed at once.  If that wasn’t enough, God even allowed satan to attack Job’s health and he ended up covered in painful boils. Job didn’t just fall into a pit, he was thrown in by the arrogant punk coward forked tongue fallen angel Lucifer.  AND GOD ALLOWED IT!!!!  For me that is the most shocking part of Job’s story. God allowed a faithful follower of his to hit rock bottom simply to prove that nothing would shake Job’s faith to the point that he would turn against God.

Even though Job grieved, tore his clothing and covered himself in ash-he was credited for not sinning against God during this horribly tragic time.  In the end God restored to Job all that he had lost, two fold.  He doubled Job’s fortune and restored to him the exact number of children Job had lost.  JOb was even cured from his boils. (Job 42)

These are just two examples of restoration and redemption.  God’s word is filled with so many more.  In this life-God still restores and redeem.  If you are going through a difficult time, learning to live life without the person you loved most in it or feeling like you are forever stuck in a pit or just going in circles please be encouraged that God is with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you and just like Psalms 40 reminds us, He will pull us from the mud and the mire.  In fact, I’d like to end this post with Psalm 40.  I pray it encourages anyone who reads it and empowers you to walk tall knowing God is for you, not against you.  If you surrender your wounds to the Father He will make you whole again. Be open to love.  God tends to show His love for us through the love of others.  He’s also been known to use the love of others to mend our brokenness.  Ruth and Job’s hearts were crushed but God not only pieced them back together He enlarged their hearts to love again. After all, they’re hearts had to have grown twice in size at least to love those they had lost and have room to love the ones they had gained also.

“I waited patiently for the Lord to help me,

and he turned to me and heard my cry.

He lifted me out of the pit of despair,

out of the mud and the mire.

He set my feet on solid ground

and steadied me as I walked along.

He has given me a new song to sing,

a hymn of praise to our God.

Many will see what he has done and be amazed.

They will put their trust in the Lord.” (Psalm 40:1-3 NLT)

One final thought before I close-God doesn’t just promise to bind up broken hearts-Psalm 30 tells us He promises to turn our mourning into joyful dancing, and to clothe us with joy (verse 11.)  Grief is part of the process when one experiences loss.  But it’s a process, not a way of life. Eventually to move past grief we have to release the wound and allow God to mend it so that we will no longer have the desire to mourn but instead be filled with joy and gladness once again.

Wreck-Less

“The wise are cautious and avoid danger; fools plunge ahead with reckless confidence.”  Proverbs 14:16 NLT

On a road trip, how many road signs does one follow to ensure they reach their arrival safely?  Some road signs caution people of icy bridges.  Others warn them to “stop”, “yield”, “merge”, “pass with care” and set speed limits according to the type of road one is traveling on.  There are very obvious road signs like “Do Not Enter”,  “Road Closed” or even “Detour” that when followed definitely ensure our safety.

What happens when we don’t obey these road signs?  What happens when we fail to stop, yield, merge, pass with care or obey the speed limits?  What happens if we go the wrong way or travel down a road that’s under construction?  What happens when we drive recklessly?  We get into a wreck injuring/killing ourselves and possibly others.  We damage our vehicles and inanimate objects all because we chose to ignore the signs that would ensure our safety and the safety of others.

There are road signs in life too.  They’re not as obvious or apparent though.  There are no neon blink signs navigating our decision making process but just like on a road trip, if we obey the warning signs, we make wise decisions and reach our life destination unscathed.  If we ignore them, we become reckless like the fool in Proverbs 14.

If life’s road signs aren’t visible, how do we know what they are?  We need to crack open God’s word and study it.  It’s filled with wisdom and warning signs that are created to protect us from all harm.   Those warning signs include protecting our bodies (1 Corinthians 3:16-17), protecting our hearts (Proverbs 4:23), and protecting our minds (2 Corinthians 10:5).  We can also seek out godly advice from spiritual leaders and to always pray for God’s direction and discernment.

But what if we choose to ignore God’s warning signs?  Our lives end up in a wreck.  Some reckless choices to our bodies include being overweight and having serious life threatening health issues.  They can also include unwanted pregnancies, STD’s and soul ties from premarital sex.  Addictions arise from failure to make wise choices and protect our bodies. Reckless damage to our hearts can include brokenness and a hardening because we pursued an abusive or dead-end relationship that God would never have chosen for us or from being unequally yoked to a unbeliever.  Failure to protect our minds can result in wrong thinking, believing the enemy’s lies, and creating fantasies of how life and relationships should be.  Whatever the reckless choice is, you can be sure you will experience a reckless consequence.

Thank God we have a Savior who can turn our recklessness into a life that is “wreck-less” IF we heed to His word.  God promises us time and again that we are to fear nothing because He is with us and He goes before us.  He also promises that if we need wisdom we should ask and He will give it.  (James 1:5) He used many examples through the lives of the Israelites that if they obeyed His “road signs” they would inherit an abundant life and dwell in the promise land.  He repeatedly gives examples in His word of how He redeemed some of the Bible Greats from recklessness and made them wreck-less instead.

When Adam and Eve made a reckless choice in paradise, one their consequences was banishment from the Garden of Eden.  But God didn’t destroy them.  He even made clothing for them since eating the fruit of knowledge revealed to them they were naked.  When Cain killed Abel, God punished Cain but protected him from being destroyed by anyone else.  When David wrecked his life with an affair and murder, God redeemed him and still made him King.   The Old Testament is filled with stories of recklessness, severe consequences, repentance and redemption.  Repentance and obedience are the keys to being redeemed and living a wreck-less life.

What decision are you facing today that with God’s wisdom you can avoid being reckless and severe consequences?  Are you facing a dating relationship and ignoring the nudges of the Holy Spirit telling you they’re the wrong one?  Are you facing peer pressure to try a drug or give up your virginity?  Are you married and being tempted to cheat on your spouse?  Do you struggle financially and dealing with overspending?  Are you diabetic and craving a sugary donut?  Whatever you’re facing-know this, the devil leads us into recklessness through temptation!

The devil is very subtle and crafty with his schemes (Genesis 3:1) and he uses temptation to turn us away from the warning signs God has given us.  He can even distort God’s word to fool us (like Adam and Eve) into wrecking our lives.  God warns us to not be wise in our own eyes (Proverbs 3:7.)  The Bible also tells us to stay alert for the devil prowls around like a hungry lion (1 Peter 5:8).  When we are steady in God’s word and seek His wisdom and discernment we can readily detect the devil’s schemes and avoid his traps before we end up in a wreck.  But we also have to resist temptation.   Jesus, Himself, on the night he was arrested, told His disciples to stay awake and be alert so they would not give into temptation (Luke 22). And Jesus knew temptation.  The enemy tempted Him three times in the wilderness.  Each time, Jesus resisted the devil and the devil finally fled from Jesus (Luke 4). That’s what God calls us to do-resist the devil and he will flee (James 4:7.)  We must also be aware of how he tempts us.  We must recognize the desires of the flesh in order to resist him.  And if we fall, we get back up, repent and become more dependent on Christ to keep us from falling again. We must also STOP falling into his same traps and expecting God to redeem us from a pit we keep jumping in.

“Resisting temptation is so hard” you say?  Tell me about it!  You’re preaching to the choir!  I suffer from retail therapy and overeating.  When I’m stressed out I want to go shopping and buy something that will make me feel better.  I want to overload on chocolate and junk food because it tastes so good while I’m eating it.  But I suffer grave consequences from both choices.  I struggle with both debt and weight issues.  I even struggled with serious health issues until I disciplined myself to cut out foods (including chocolate and caffeine) that I knew were making me sick.

I also know because I’m a single parent-I chased after the wrong relationship.  I failed to listen to the Holy Spirit nudging me to wait, nudging me I was unequally yoked and I suffered severe consequences because of it.  Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t trade my children for anything-they are the best thing that came from the relationship.  But I suffered tremendous heartache and emotional injury because I did not listen to the warning signs.  And my children suffered from my reckless choice also.

I know recklessness with my body, heart and mind all too well and if my mistake can prevent someone from wrecking his/her life, it’s worth sharing. I also know His redemption and want you to know it too.

The point of today’s blog is this:  If you don’t want to end up in a wreck, obey God’s word, heed His warnings and don’t live recklessly.   But if you, like me, have already wrecked your life, don’t count your life as over.  We have a God who can and will redeem you and turn your reckless choices into a wreck-less testimony.  I know because He has done it for me every day I surrender my ways to His ways and allow Him to transform my body, heart and mind back into what he made them all to be.  He started redeeming me the day I repented.  He’s calling you to repent too.   Repent and forgive and allow Him to redeem you and make you wreck-less too!

Trash or Treasure?

In my twenties I watched a home improvement show that involved renovating specific rooms in people’s homes.  At the end of each episode they showed a five minute clip where the hosts of the show would purchase used items from rummage sales or junk yards and transform them into decorative useful items-like turning one person’s “trash” into their own beautiful “treasure.”  I loved watching the room makeovers but I especially enjoyed the “trash to treasure” portion at the end.  I was so amazed at the creativity the hosts had and how talented they were in crafting something someone considered “junk” into home décor.  One episode in particular they changed window screens into a headboard and used the screen portion as a jewelry hanger for earrings.  Coming from a mind who’s craftiness consists of finding an idea on Pinterest and having someone else make it for me, those hosts were crazy inventive for sure!!!

Last week I had a conversation with a co-worker, that reminded me of that show.  The show itself was not discussed but a simple phrase the co-worker spoke to me and God later reinforced.  “God used something awful to make a beautiful treasure.”  She spoke this phrase several times as our conversation was ending. It was her response when I shared with her how I had been conceived.  Without giving too many personal details, I was born out of wedlock.  I became a Christian at a young age and learned all the “do’s” and “don’ts” of Christianity through a “fire and brimstone” theology.  If you do all the right things and don’t sin-then you’re in God’s will and you get to go to Heaven.  If you sin, you’ll burn in Hell.

Learning this type of theology and knowing how I was conceived, I grew up believing God had no plan for me.  How could He?  I was the bi-product of a sinful act-clearly I was something He just allowed to happen, thus He had no plan for me.  I was just here to exist and then die.  Those thoughts were lies from the enemy but as a young Christian I didn’t dig deep into my Bible and seek out my own understanding of the faith, I just listened to what a preacher told me and took it as “truth.”  It took years well into my adulthood, a road of my own rebellion and some real godly people investing in me before I started reading my Bible and learning my own truths of Christianity and God’s purpose for our lives.

God divinely placed my co-worker in my path that day to take a bathroom break the same time as me and to turn a conversation into a beautiful message from Him and this blog post.   I heard her say; “God doesn’t like sin.”

“He took something He didn’t like and turned it into a beautiful treasure.”

“That treasure is you.”

“You are His treasure.”

And it was all very hard to digest.  The whole time the enemy was fighting hard to remind me of who he fooled me into believing I was for so many years.  But I fought past it and I let what I believe the Holy Spirit spoke through her resonate inside of me.  I was nearly in tears when I left the office and headed to the grocery store.  It was while shopping I thought of the show that turned trash into treasure.  And I thought, “That’s what she means!  That’s what she’s saying.”

Sin is our trash.  It can come in some pretty packaged forms but it’s really ugly, smelly and if we stay in it too long it weighs us down and can even make us sick-spiritually, emotionally and physically.  But what does God do with our trash-what can He do with our sinful acts?  Through His grace, mercy and redeeming love, when we repent, He turns our sin into treasure He can use for His kingdom.

David and Bathsheba had an affair.  Bathsheba became pregnant.  David tried to cover up the affair.  Out of desperation he even had Bathsheba’s husband murdered and took Bathsheba as his own wife.  Although the baby Bathsheba carried died, God blessed them with Solomon, who was the wisest king of Judah. (2 Samuel chapters 11 and 12)  Out of Solomon we have the books of Ecclesiastes, Proverbs (treasured wisdom), and the Songs of Solomon (treasured love.)

Christ’s crucifixion was also a bi-product of sin-the Pharisees’ sin, the roman soldiers’ sin, even your and my sins and we didn’t even exist then. But God used Christ’s resurrection, rising from a grave and overcoming death as a beautiful treasure that wipes our sins clean washing us white as snow and promising us eternal life. (Isaiah 1:18.)

When the enemy tries throwing your trash (sinful past) in your face, remind him that you are God’s treasure.  Quote Romans 8:28 aloud and tell the enemy to back off because God promises to use all things (even our sinful choices) for good and for His glory.  And remind yourself of whom you are in Christ.  He created our inmost beings and knitted us in our mother’s wombs. (Psalm 139:13)  Ephesians 2:10 tells us we are His masterpieces.  He has a plan and a purpose for each and every one of us. (Psalm 139:16, Ephesians 2:10 and Jeremiah 29:11)Don’t let the enemy waste another moment of your life fooling you to believe you are anything less than who God made you to be.