Permalink 08:11:13 am, Step(s): 10 Maintaining progress, 173 words   English (US)

Peace or Folly?

"I will listen to what God the Lord says;
he promises peace to his people, his faithful servants—
but let them not turn to folly.
Surely his salvation is near those who fear him,
that his glory may dwell in our land."
(Psalms 85:8-9)

With God's promise of peace, comes a condition. As I progress through these healing steps, I must not become complacent with my progress, but continue to evaluate my direction in life. I must remember that I am but dust (Ps 103:14), and continually ask myself, "Am I still following, still surrendering to God? Or, am I beginning to return to my folly?".

Without a continuing self-evaluation it is easy to fall into the lie that we can manage our own lives, now God has worked to bring us to a better place. It would be easy to slip back into denial of our true human condition. And, in so doing, lose sight of God as being our only source of power to continue in our progressive healing process.

"God is my strong fortress; And he guideth the perfect in his way." (2 Samuel 22:33). "Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost." (Romans 15:13).

"Continued to take personal inventory, and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it." (Step 10)


Permalink 09:07:22 am, Step(s): 10 Maintaining progress, 203 words   English (US)

No Drifting

As we progress through the process of sanctification, there come times when things seem to be going well. During those times, it is so easy to let life in this busy world control us, and maybe even numb us to spiritual things. When this happens, it behooves us to "... listen very carefully to the truth we have heard, or we may drift away from it" (Hebrews 2:1). To "drift away" could easily cause us to fall back into our sins of the past.

That's why it is important for me to take time daily for introspection -- asking God to convict me of sin in my life and then I must promptly admit it and deal with it, according to His will. This brings me peace, and peace is exactly what I need, in order to face another day in this crazy hectic world.

" For the message God delivered through angels has always stood firm, and every violation of the law and every act of disobedience was punished. So what makes us think we can escape if we ignore this great salvation that was first announced by the Lord Jesus himself and then delivered to us by those who heard him speak?" (Hebrews 2:2-3)

"Continued to take personal inventory, and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it." (Step 10)


Permalink 07:51:32 am, Step(s): 10 Maintaining progress, 374 words   English (US)

Mistakes Happen...

There's no better way to participate in the process of sanctification than to follow Jesus. The apostle Peter walked with Jesus for years. He saw first-hand the love of God through His only begotten Son. Jesus helped Peter walk through the healing process of honesty, trust in God, consecration, surrender, introspection, confession, repentance, and amends. Peter understood and recognized sanctification as the "progressive work of a lifetime".

The question is, just how much faith did he have? How far did he trust God to work in him to will and to do of His good pleasure? When life got really hard for Peter, this is what happened: "And when he was gone out into the porch, another maid saw him, and said unto them that were there, This fellow was also with Jesus of Nazareth. And again he denied with an oath, I do not know the man. And after a while came unto him they that stood by, and said to Peter, Surely thou also art one of them; for thy speech bewrayeth thee. Then began he to curse and to swear, saying, I know not the man. And immediately the cock crew. And Peter remembered the word of Jesus, which said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And he went out, and wept bitterly." (Matthew 26:71-75)

I'm glad that Peter promptly admitted his mistake, when he was convicted... But wait, Judas also admitted his mistake in denying Christ and then went out and killed himself. What's with that?

Unlike Peter, Judas had not been participating in the process of sanctification during his years of walking with Jesus. Rather than confessing his issues and letting Jesus help him deal with it, he stuffed that mess deep within himself. Then, when he made a really big mistake and realized it, all that garbage that he had been stuffing came out all at once and it was too much. He wasn't willing to deny himself, take up his cross, and follow (really follow) Jesus (Matthew 16:24).

I find it really interesting that the word translated "deny" which Jesus used in (Matthew 16:24) is the same Greek word that Matthew used to describe Peter's denial in Mt 26:71-75. I need to more consistently deny my "self" in the same way that Peter denied Christ. When I fail to do that, I fall -- no question about it. But when I fall, I get up again, admit my mistakes, as did Peter, and continue to cooperate with God in this lifetime-process of sanctification. It's a choice that I must make to survive.

How about you? Jesus is knocking right now at your heart's door too (Revelation 3:20). Will you answer? Do you trust Him enough to deny yourself, pick up your cross and follow Him? Keep coming back to Jesus. No matter how low you sink, Jesus, with open arms, is longing for you to come home (Luke 15:11-32).

"Continued to take personal inventory, and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it." (Step 10)

Permalink 07:45:15 am, Step(s): 10 Maintaining progress, 388 words   English (US)

The Rude Email

One day, as I read an email, I felt my anger rise, as I perceived that the writer was trying to shame me. What made it worse was that another person was CC'd in that message. Being put down like that is hard to take, especially when I don't believe the accusation is justified. My immediate reaction was to pound out a reply on the keyboard. But when I read what I wrote, I decided I'd better not send that, so I erased it and pounded out another reply. Over and over again, I continued to type and erase, -- all the while asking God for wisdom as to what I should say -- until finally I sent something. As my anger subsided I got back to what I was doing before that rude interruption.

It wasn't too long after that when I began to be convicted that I had made a mistake in getting angry over this situation. As a result, I confessed to God that, yes, rather than allowing that anger to control me, I should have surrendered it to Him. Then I accepted the forgiveness that He offered (1 John 1:9).

Later on, it occurred to me that I may also need to apologize to the person I sent the email to, as well as the other person I had CC'd. But, after all the revisions I had made to that message, I forgot what it was that I finally sent. Eventually, I looked in my sent items and found it. I was quite relieved to find that I had not said anything inappropriate and therefore didn't need to write an apology. Remember that I had prayed for wisdom during that whole process. It was gratifying to realize that, in spite of my anger, God answered my prayer and saved me from what could have been a very embarrassing apology.

I'm sorry to say that there have been previous times when I didn't pray over a hasty email reply and had to go back and apologize later. But God is good. He is always faithful to provide a way of escape when we are tempted (1 Cor 10:13). The question is, will we surrender to Him in the moment of temptation? This time, it was a partial surrender. Next time, I want to go all the way with God.

"Continued to take personal inventory, and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it." (Step 10)


Permalink 07:48:11 am, Step(s): 10 Maintaining progress, 282 words   English (US)

Keep Coming Back!

"The Lord... is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance... Be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless. Beware lest ye..., fall from your own steadfastness." (2 Peter 3:9,14,17). "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:" (1 Peter 5:8).

As a Christian, I have learned many good things about confession, repentance, amends, and perhaps the most important: surrender. But, knowledge isn't enough. God provides the opportunities. He prompts me to action. Then, I must choose to align my will with His and continually seek Him. As a result, He then works in me "to will and to do according to His good pleasure" (Philippians 2:12,13).

In spite of all of this, when I fail to choose His way, He never leaves me nor forsakes me (Hebrews 13:5). All I need to do is admit my mistake to God, and to anyone else (James 5:16) I may have wronged. When I do that, God "is faithful and just to forgive [my] sins, and to cleanse [me] from all unrighteousness"! (1 John 1:9). Others may, or may not, forgive me. That's between them and God.

After I confess and make amends, I am assured that I have done my part. Since Jesus paid the price (death) for my sin (Romans 6:23), God releases me from guilt. Therefore, I choose to reject the temptation to beat myself up for my sins of the past (shame). Instead, I continue to diligently seek God's will, trusting that He still loves me, and is still showing me a better way to live :-)

"And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." (Romans 12:2). "Grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen." (2 Peter 3:18 )

"Continued to take personal inventory, and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it." (Step 10)

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