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.