Monday, April 18, 2011


Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. ~~Galatians 5:24 NIV

This Holy week, which coincides this year with Passover, thoughts turn to the Passion of Christ. Jesus, who was fully man but also fully God, laid aside his will to live for God's will to prevail.

After having a Passover meal with His disciples, also known as the Last Supper, Jesus went to the Mount of Olives to pray. He felt such anguish over what He knew was to come, He sweat drops of blood. Laying down His human desires to escape the adversity, he prayed, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done” (Luke 22:42).

Jesus being completely human wanted to escape the agony He was about to face. The Lord sent an angel to strengthen Him, as it was not God's plan for Jesus to continue living in human form. At this moment in time, Jesus' human desires did not line up with His Father's desires. So Jesus prayed to seek God's will. You see--the lives of ALL people hung in the balance of this one choice.

How often are we faced with having to let go of our own desires? Sometimes we must give up something in our lives that is not God's plan for us or for others. We want to escape the torment and trials. Sometimes we must go through the trials because on the other side of those trials may hinge the lives of other people.

Christ died so all of us can live. For through Him comes everlasting life with the Father. When Jesus is our Savior, He lives through us. We touch lives for His sake. Sometimes the trials we face are not for ourselves, but to be a living testimony for others to see Jesus. We must let go of our passions that do not line up with God's plan. When in agony, we must pray, "Lord your will be done, not mine."

The Passion of Christ refers to the suffering Christ went through before His death. Most of us cannot even fathom what he faced for our sake. In return, those who belong to Christ must crucify our sinful passions. Yes, sometimes it's painful to let those things go, but when we crucify our desires, we will experience God's grace.

What desires have you crucified?

Monday, April 11, 2011

Beyond My Control

Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it. ~~ Proverbs 22:6 NIV

After recommitting my life to Christ little over 10 years ago, I wanted my family to be excited for Jesus like I was. I invested lots of my time in prayer and sharing what I learned with them.

Yet, what really happened is I often turned them off about being excited for Jesus because I used the words of the Bible to try and control them.

No one wants to be dominated and controlled by others. God does not control us and never usurps our free will. So I have not been very Christ-like with my own family.

I read this quote on Sherry Meneley's Facebook page:

Due to circumstances beyond my control, I will no longer be controlling any circumstances…I'm just sayin'

Years ago, I left the full-time work force to be a stay-at-home homeschooling mama. I wanted to spend time with my children and share the message of Gospel with them.

When my oldest graduated from high school and moved off to live life as an adult, my youngest went into public school in order to participate in the athletic programs.

I lost that personal connection of reading the Bible and praying with my boys--both together and individually. One because of the physical separation and the other because life got much busier. I no longer have full control over his schedule.

I rejoice in the fact that both my sons have asked Jesus to be Lord over their lives and both demonstrated their commitment by water baptism. For that I am thankful--so very thankful.

What I realize is I cannot control how they grow in the Lord. I just realized this past week when I saw the quote on uncontrollable circumstances that I have tried to control their spiritual growth and like an over-watered plant, they started wilting.

I must step back and stand on the promises of God. He promises that if I train them in the way they should go, they will not depart from it. Both of them know a lot of Scripture. Yet, their faith and belief must become their own.

I pray for them both. And with the one still at home, I found time to start reading a daily devotion book, Jesus Calling, to him each morning. Discussing it with him if he initiates the conversation and sometimes praying or just remaining silent.

I can pray, guide, love, and discipline, but I cannot make them choose to live for Jesus. Those are circumstances beyond my control.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Not So Perfect

People can tame all kinds of animals, birds, reptiles, and fish, but no one can tame the tongue. It is restless and evil, full of deadly poison. Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it curses those who have been made in the image of God. ~~ James 4:7-9 NLT

God blessed me with the gift of speaking. And because of that, I love to talk. I can talk about anything and everything with anyone anywhere.

When I ask my husband, "Why don't you say something?" He will just smile and sweetly reply, "I haven't had a chance."

Yes, I should let others share their thoughts. But where I really get into trouble is when situations do not unfold as I think they should. Before committing my life to Christ, if I received bad service, I would become so vocal about it that I would be asked to leave. I was far from perfect in this area with my mouth.

However, as I started growing in the Lord and maturing, I learned better ways to handle less-than-perfect scenarios. I became much better, but still not so perfect in using my words.

Occasionally I experience a relapse of my old way. Unfortunately for Christians, we come under much stricter scrutiny by others. That happened to me a few months ago when I unconsciously reverted back to the methods I used to use when I felt I was treated unfairly.

The person I unleashed unkind words on sent me an email that read, "The vitriolic words spewing from your mouth in the acrimonious tone of voice left me speechless. . . Take your hate and irresponsibility and ENGRAFT THAT ON YOUR BLOG so they can see what kind of person you really are."

Those words tormented me for days. For that, I confessed my sin to God, who is faithful to forgive. And I admitted I was wrong and apologized to this person. I apologize again, now--publicly. Will you forgive me? I'm definitely not-so-perfect.

The Scripture tells us that the tongue is hard to tame. We praise God with it and then curse others who are made in His image. That's what happened to this far-from-perfect being.

What are we to do? The Scripture in James continues by explaining that true wisdom comes from God. I should have paused, and in this situation, taken time to seek God for wisdom and not have returned the call right away.

James 4:17-18 tells us, ". . .the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere. And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness" (NLT). If I had applied God's wisdom, I would have been gentle with my words.

In this hurtful situation, this not-so-perfect girl learned a lesson. I needed a little grace. God's grace is abundant , so let's share it to other not-so-perfect people.