Friday, September 25, 2015

One Sin Away~

The Lord has brought a phrase to mind over the past two weeks.

As badly as I wish I could shake it off I simply cannot.

The phrase is this: Andrea you are one sin away from anyone else.

You may casually glance at that and be tempted to nod and agree.

Most people do.

However I don't live this way.

I don't live like my foot could be on a banana peel and slip off into blatant sin.

Truthfully I am offended at the very idea of it.

I think too highly of myself.

This, folks, is PRIDE.

The thought of, "I would never do such a thing" is as natural to us as breathing.

We use that way of thinking to make ourselves look and feel better compared to someone else.

Herein lies the ultimate problem.

My standard is Jesus Christ.  Not you.  Not my neighbor.  Not the guy on death row.

Our thought should be, "Oh God help me not to fall and sin against You. Help me resist the things I want to do."

Nothing more.  Nothing less.

But this one makes us squirm.

It goes back to offending our nature.

This constant need for Someone else to help us in our shortcomings and weaknesses makes us feel vulnerable and exposed.

So we opt for pride instead.

This past week I was blessed to study David and Solomon.  This dynamic father and son duo in God's Word were chosen to be anointed men in God's Kingdom.

David was chosen to be the King of Israel.  He is known for being the man after God's own heart.

His son, Solomon, was very wise and was chosen to build the temple of the Lord.

But we also know of the misdeeds done by these men.

As wise and brilliant and honorable and they were....they fell into blatant sin.

Yep~ they both slipped on that banana peel.

Polygamy, adultery, idolatry,  premeditated murder, deceit, and pride mark a few of their pitfalls.

And still they were chosen.

Oh the grace of our God!!!

When you read the Psalm that was written by David's own hand,  you get a glimpse into the heart that beat for the Lord.

David, humbled and grieved by his sin, takes responsibility and begs for mercy.

This is the picture of knowing afresh that we are ALL just one sin away from creating catastrophe in our lives.

Look at some of these words written in repentance and remorse.

Let's learn a thing or two from David~

"Have mercy on me, O God, 
because of your unfailing love.
Because of your great compassion,
blot out the stain of my sins.

Wash me clean from my guilt.
Purify me from my sin.

For I recognize my shameful deeds-
they haunt me day and night.
Against you, and you alone, have I sinned;
I have done what is evil in your sight."

"But you desire honesty from the heart, 
so you can teach me to be wise in my inmost being."

"The sacrifice you want is a broken spirit.
A broken and repentant heart, O God, 
you will not despise."

These are just a few excerpts from a broken man.

He has come face to face with his own sin.

I encourage you to read Psalm 51 in its entirety.

I sin every single day.

I harbor bitterness.
I struggle with jealousy.
I don't trust God.
I lie sometimes.
I am selfishly motivated.
I look for the easy way out in situations.
I am easily angered.
My thoughts can turn dark and mean.

Here is the bottom line...

Our posture toward Jesus Christ and others should always be one of humility.

Humility is completely and utterly refreshing in a culture where blame is cast quicker than the clock can tick.

Someone admitting guilt and accepting consequences is so rare.  But somehow when I see genuine repentance my heart leaps in forgiveness.

God's does too.

When Christ followers can live in a way that honors God, even in their mishaps, the world cannot help but take notice and like what they see.

When my children disobey me and try to lie and cover it up.
I remain angry.

When my children admit their disobedience and ask for forgiveness I gush with joy. I simply cannot wait to forgive them.

This is the picture.

Humility is not weakness.

Humility is gorgeous admission of wrong in our lives.

Humility glares in the face of haughty pride.

Humility is knowing I have been redeemed by One so much greater than myself.

Humility realizes that though I love my Lord I can still be enticed by sin.

Humility reminds  me to stay close to my Savior.

Humility never showcases our strength. Humility sets the stage for God to be glorified in a life.

Humility is not a life beaten down.  It is a heart free to bow in grateful obedience.

1 Peter 5:6-8  "So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and in his good time he will honor you.  Give all of your worries and cares to God, for he cares about what happens to you.  Be careful! Watch out for attacks from the devil, your great enemy.  He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour."

Isn't it interesting that humility was mentioned just before a warning about our enemy?!?

Pride can not only make us so vulnerable to attack; it is also the trait that most repulses others away from our faith.

The enemy will take either one of those....

Stay low people.  Press on.

Friday, September 11, 2015

A Mighty Pretty Sight

Social media can be a bear.

It can be the vacuum that sucks up our time and energy.

It can be the place we lose sight of what is important.

It can breed discontentment as we compare and compete with others.

But....I argue that social media can also serve a wonderful purpose.

It can be a tool that blesses the lives of others.
It can be a stage where Jesus can shine bright in your life.
It can be the encouragement that makes someone else's day.
It can be a vessel to speak truth in a world tormented by lies.

This past June our family posted a request on social media.

Our oldest daughter, Caroline, would be turning 13 on her birthday.

What she wanted most was a bicycle.

Unfortunately an adaptive bicycle is crazy expensive.  We are talking thousands of dollars.

With the help of sweet friends and family our community raised enough money on social media for our girl to have her very own bike.

It took 2 months to be built and shipped to us.

But here is a look at this long legged girl on her long-awaited ride!

Her joy will light you up.

I wish to extend our sincere thanks to the many who gave money and passed the word to make this girl's wish come true.

God used social media for good y'all.

We were so blessed by the generosity of others.  Many people I don't even know to thank because they chose to remain anonymous givers.

If you read this post and you know someone that gave~ pass this on.  Help me thank them.

(On a side note I am certain that you noticed my Ava walking beside her sister in many of these pictures.  The Lord uses real life situations to speak to me all the time.  As I watched Ava help and encourage her sister I was reminded of our purpose in this life.
There was a time in my life when I was weak and broken. As I cried our to the Lord...He strengthened me.  His Word breathed life into my bones.  He sent wonderful people to befriend me and walk patiently beside me.  
Those of us who have been redeemed by a loving God are to walk beside those who are broken and needy.  We are to assist and cheer and help them.  This is our purpose in Christ Jesus.)

Brothers and sisters, we urge you to warn those who are lazy. Encourage those who are timid. Take tender care of those who are weak. Be patient with everyone. 1 Thessalonians 5:14