Thoughtful| Teshuva, the Return

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We, as finite creatures- tend to drift. To float away weakly after the pleasures of the world. We exchange the wonderful blessings of Christ Jesus, for the fleeting pleasures of sin. It’s a rip-off, but we don’t mind. It doesn’t matter to us. But it should.

Many of you have probably heard the C.S Lewis quote about the children being more content with mud pies than with the vacation at the beach. That’s us. We’ll take the mud pies, disguised to look like candy- and devour them.

But there’s good news.

We’re not given over to our sin as unbelievers are. The Lord will never forsake His own. He pursues us, He loves us freely. And above all- He convicts us. Have you ever felt that terrible poke right before doing what you know is wrong? Most of the time, people refer to that as your conscience. But did you know that the Holy Spirit, while being a comforter- is also a convicter? God doesn’t wink at sin, and He has indwelt us in the person of the Spirit. He is merciful and gracious.

I feel that the things that I have been doing are drowning out the love that I ought to have for God. I cry out, asking why God isn’t answering. Why isn’t He there? Well, He is. Sometimes God doesn’t answer the way we want Him to. Sometimes we alienate ourselves from Him. We neglect reading His Word and praying. And then we wonder why we don’t ‘feel’ Him there.

The Psalm most applicable that I can think of to repentance (turning away to return) is Psalm 32. It tells us what happens when we do not confess, and I gives us encouragement to return.

Blessed Are the Forgiven

A Maskil of David.

” Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven,
    whose sin is covered.
Blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity,
    and in whose spirit there is no deceit.

For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away
    through my groaning all day long.
For day and night your hand was heavy upon me;
    my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer. Selah

I acknowledged my sin to you,
    and I did not cover my iniquity;
I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,”
    and you forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah

Therefore let everyone who is godly
    offer prayer to you at a time when you may be found;
surely in the rush of great waters,
    they shall not reach him.
You are a hiding place for me;
    you preserve me from trouble;
    you surround me with shouts of deliverance. Selah

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
    I will counsel you with my eye upon you.
Be not like a horse or a mule, without understanding,
    which must be curbed with bit and bridle,
    or it will not stay near you.

10 Many are the sorrows of the wicked,
    but steadfast love surrounds the one who trusts in the Lord.
11 Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, O righteous,
    and shout for joy, all you upright in heart!”

~Psalm 32

Sadly, sometimes it’s so easily said, and not easily done at all. I know when I’m in a ‘spiritual rut’ or find myself backsliding back into sin- sometimes the last thing I want is to return. Even though He loves me freely. Even though my current path will only lead to destruction. I still am content to wallow in the mud.

Sometimes we must wallow in the mud for a while to be brought to utter humility. We see our need of Him more clearly when He ‘hides His face’ from us for a while. But then, like the prodigal son—we return. He brings us back like lost sheep into His fold. We feast once again on green pastures. He restores our cast-down souls. He gives us drink from the clear, still waters.

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He makes us to lie down in peace.

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Thoughtful| “Forgiveness”

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This post is one that’s been set rather immediately on my mind because of some things that have been going on in my life.

This isn’t a post of self-pity.

This isn’t a post telling you it’s all someone else’s fault.

This isn’t a post to tell you if you forgive someone they’ll be automatically changed.

Sometimes life seems like those broken pieces of glass. Getting broken is painful. Being sinned against (and sinning against someone else) hurts. There isn’t an easy fix all the time. Not every relationship can be fixed by simply setting up a day, meeting,

and

T A L K I N G   IT  OUT.

People will probably be bitter, have scars, and just be hurt in general. Forgiving someone isn’t just saying you’re sorry something happened. It’s much more difficult than that. If it was that easy, probably no one would have any problem with saying it. True forgiveness is HARD and takes a big dose of grace and humility. Asking forgiveness takes a pride-smashin’ session. And forgiving someone? It takes exactly the same.

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For a while, I was feeling pretty comfortable with life (probably a bad sign). There were maybe a few small arguments once in a while…nothing major though. Then, out of the blue to me (also probably a bad sign) things starting coming up. I ended up hurt. There was a lot of emotional taxation. There still is. I was also angry. I didn’t understand why it was happening to me, or what I has done wrong in the particular situation. But I can already see it being used for good. It hurts, it’s maybe very inconvenient, and it makes me sad–but God has been drawing me nearer to Him through it.

Motivation for forgiving others…

“Why should I forgive someone (especially if they don’t even ASK forgiveness) ?” that question was going around in my head.  At one point, someone asked me if I hated them and if I didn’t, why didn’t I? I was so tempted to just run off feeling even more hurt. But in that moment someone else told me to ‘start with the obvious’. Now, that probably doesn’t make much sense, but thankfully- I knew just what was meant. The person I was dealing with was a ______ in Christ. Christ had forgiven them with His blood- just the same as He’d saved me. I had no right, absolutely none- to hate the person. Yes, I was hurt. But I have been commanded to love, not to hate.

“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”

~Ephesians 4:32, ESV.

You have every reason to love, and NO REASON to hate. Especially someone who is your brother or sister in Christ. If I could remember that every time I wronged someone or was wronged- there would be a huge forgiveness party! We would all be asking forgiveness.

WE HAVE EVERY MOTIVATION IN CHRIST.

~Emmaline