November 18, 2013

Pausing to ponder...and scratching my head!

I am pausing tonight to ponder a statement I stumbled upon not too long ago. You see this statement left me feeling slightly baffled & actually a bit confused too... Especially in light of it being the time of year where we are encouraged to stop, be thankful & count our blessings. I am struggling to wrap my brain around the thought process behind such a statement. I mean, I understand I shouldn't think better of myself than someone else. I also understand that everything I have & consider a blessing could be taken from me at any moment. Does that stop me from looking for the blessings around me? Is it wrong to count my blessings? Is it really a bad idea to call a blessing a blessing? In turn, light of the statement that has me pondering tonight...calling something a blessing could be seen as discouraging to others....should I ever really say I am thankful for something?

Okay...maybe I better write down the statement with some surrounding context, so you can better understand my quandry. This is a comment from a friend to another friend: "...I'm thankful for that. (I tend not to call things like that blessings because that can be discouraging for others who might not have similar experiences.)" In response to: "God's blessing've got roots growing up all over the place!!!"

I read this & found myself shaking my head! For I do believe that I am blessed...I am not perfectly heathy, my home is not finished, we drive used cars, we have family issues...and the list goes on. I understand others have it better than me & transversely others have it worse. But does that mean I can't count my roof, food on my table, my extended family, friends, my church family & all the other sundry of little things I count among my blessings 'blessings' because....according to that statement above-I may be a discouragement to someone else who might not have my experiences.

I actually find that thought process to be absurd for several reasons. I am not counting my blessings, or calling the things I'm thankful for blessings, in order to make someone feel down. It is to help me keep my life in perspective! No one's experiences are ever exactly the same. We all have different upbringing, family, homes, to allow my blessing to discourage you...well...thats just plain silly. And lastly, knowing a bit about other things this person says & shares, I am not surprised they'd say this...but I am still puzzled, since they tend to lean toward the line of thought that says things like: it's your life, do what makes you happy. Don't let anyone tell you how you should feel. And ultimately, I know my blessings however big or small in comparison to others are given to me by God chosen for me. And to NOT call them a blessing would be an insult to the creator of the universe. 

What are your thoughts on calling a blessing just that a blessing?

November 14, 2013

A devotion that just pierced my heart this morning...

Based on Jesus teaching from Luke 15:11-32

Confession and Repentance in Scripture

I can’t think of a better example of confession and repentance than one Jesus Himself used to give us insight into turning from our sin. It even starts out with a sin issue that isn’t light or easy to resolve. He was a beloved son, a reckless decision maker, who ended up in the worst possible situation. And I’m grateful that Jesus doesn’t give us an example of someone caught up in prayer and worship, all of a sudden finding themselves in a state of confession. It’s beautiful when we choose to be honest with the Lord and give Him free reign to call out our sin, but that’s not always how it works - is it? We often find ourselves face down in pig food before we choose confession.

I love the wording of the ESV here, “But when he came to himself...” This is where confession begins, when our minds and hearts catch up to the reality of our sin and where it has led us - we must first come to ourselves so that we can go back home.

The son didn’t stay gone or stay away. He didn’t bury his head in the pig food and give up. He knew the reality of the situation was that he was busted, and stubbornly sitting in his busted-ness would do no one any good. He went straight to his dad and told him the details. Admitting that our fault is against our heavenly Father and the people who have suffered from our sin is such an important step. Complete repentance usually involves both being honest before the Lord and being honest with others.

Lastly, he hid himself in the Lord the only way he knew how - by offering himself up as a servant. When we come to the Lord with something to confess and some sin to repent from, do we come with a preconceived notion of how our Father should respond? Do we expect restoration to look a certain way or do we acknowledge that He knows best and wants best for us? When we submit to people or the Lord, we should just come - truly sorry, covered in the blood of Jesus, with a desire to want to love them better. 

Does this example of confession jar anything in you? Does it seem familiar or look terribly different from the way you view repentance? Remember the most important part of this story: the Father’s response. That’s what Jesus wanted us to hear the most, I believe. Wherever you are, wherever you’ve been - He celebrates when you come home.

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