WeepingintoDancing

Overcoming Difficult Trials

Archive for the category “Sin”

Bitterness Is A Destructive Weed

Better or Bitter?

 “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.”   Ephesians 4:31: (ESV)  

“See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled”                            Hebrews 12:15 (ESV)

Dear One,

When going through a difficult time in life, it is easy to imagine that God has abandoned you.  The shock of unimaginable circumstances, the pain and suffering that they may cause, the confusion and whys that fill your mind, could all lead you down a path of bitterness. 

Hebrews 12:15 describes bitterness as an emotion that takes “root” in a person’s soul.  Bitter feelings and attitudes may start out small and hardly noticeable at first.  However, bitterness quickly grows into something very destructive and troublesome.  It has the ability to defile many.  Malice and spite are birthed from it, and could cause a spirit of ill will and a desire to do evil.  It destroys spiritual joy.

Bitterness is a sign of a worldly attitude.  Those who are bitter will often seek revenge, and unforgiveness usually has an iron grip on their heart. The bitter wronged will take on a stance of judge and jury, thus eliminating God’s right to correct His own children.

Frustration and anger, confusion and hopelessness will lend themselves to the development of a victim’s attitude or perspective.  Constant complaints of, “Why Me?”  will aggravate the sin of bitterness.  We live in a fallen world and we are told that we will have tribulations in this life.  God permits suffering for our own benefit.  His own son was called to suffer incredible brutality.  Trials are meant to transform us into the image of Christ.  They are not enjoyable but they will come.

It is the grace of God with which we must fall upon when tragedy hits.  Faithfulness to our Redeemer must be the spiritual fruit we put into practice during such trying times.  It is with our faith, believing in a loving Creator, that we can accept the unacceptable and move past all trials sent our way.

If you have ever pulled weeds in a garden, you know that they can be incredibly difficult to remove. Some of the smallest weeds have deceptively long and deep roots. It takes a great deal of effort and strength to uproot them.  If a garden is well maintained, weeds are identified and removed while still sprouts.  The uprooting does not disturb the soil too much, and little or no damage is done to nearby plants.

However, if a weed is left to grow and is uprooted when fully mature, surrounding plants will be affected by its removal.  They may be damaged or even themselves uprooted, due to their close proximity to the trespasser.  Bitterness is this weed.  It will certainly affect, uproot, and damage all nearby believers.

Bitterness is just like any other sin.  It will affect our relationship with God and our relationship with those standing beside us.  It will not remain hidden or buried. Eventually, it will sprout and flower. Seeds of bitterness are like helicopter seeds, they whirl themselves about and fly into the wind landing in many different locations.

If the entire root of bitterness is not removed, it will grow back.  An act of forgiveness or the acceptance of the purposes and plans of God, will help in removing the weed completely.  Don’t let the gall or impudence of bitterness rob you of your delight.  Your delight comes from knowing that you have been Redeemed and saved.

Bitterness is a work of the flesh and His “Chosen Ones” should not take part in it’s evil.  It causes anger, strife, rivalries, and dissensions.  It hinders God’s request to be kind and compassionate.  We are commanded to put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.  Bitterness separates us for God and the fellowship of the Body of Christ. Lay down your bitterness and trust that God has a reason for your trial.

“For I see that you are in the gall of bitterness and in the bond of iniquity.”          Acts 8:23 (ESV) 

“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.”   Colossians 3:12-14 (ESV)

God’s Forgiveness Will Heal A Hardened Heart

Heal Yourself

Graphic found on this link:

www.Daveswordsofwisdom.com 

But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; 
the punishment that brought us peace was on Him, and by His wounds we are healed.”  Isaiah 53:5 (NIV) 

Dear One,

Jesus suffered many physical injuries on His road to Calvary.  The beatings, whippings, and crucifixion left him barely recognizable to His family and friends.  For love and for our salvation, He took up the cross and it is by His wounds that we are healed.  It is through His punishment that we have peace.

Why then do we wrestle with forgiveness, first in giving it and second in receiving it?  We have such an incredible Savior and role model, who loved us while we were yet sinners.  John 15:13 says,  Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”  There are surely believers who have lived and died this example of Christ’s love, but the majority of us have not.  Our sufferings are great in our own eyes and yet, they are nothing compared to the sufferings of the early church.

We should not compare our pains and trials to other believers, as God knows each of our frames and the measure of strength He has given to each of His children.  Rebellion and personal sin can magnify personal sufferings, so our obedience and submission is a factored in to our trials.

What really matters is that if we sin and then confess it, we are forgiven.  God never refuses our request for forgiveness and communion with Him.  Therefore, why do we withhold forgiveness when others ask it of us?  Is it due to a cold and hardened heart?

How then do you heal a hardened?  It is surely a sign of a sad spiritual state.  It is a hungry and thirsty soul who has neglected the Word of Life and the Springs of Living Waters. It is parched and weak for lack of food and water.

The first thing a hardened heart needs is the love and healing found in the Word of God.  For a time, this hard heart has not been open to the wise counsel of others and has stopped communicating with God, or listening to the prompts of the Holy Spirit.  The truth contained in the Word can break through the self-protection and remind the wounded of the truths Jesus taught.  It is after all in dying that we are set free to find eternal life.

God’s Word will not only feed the human spirit, but it will untwist the lies *satan has implanted in the heart of marble. 

Another important part to healing a hard heart is fellowship.  All of us have sinned.  There are many believers who will not throw the first stone for their own sin reminds them of God’s continuous grace and forgiveness. It is said in Ecclesiastes that it is a good thing to heed the rebuke of a wise person. When we are not walking closely with the Lord, the usual action is to avoid others of the faith.  We tend to become anti-social and isolated.      It requires humility to accept that you have travelled off the path God had you on and seek the support of the Body of Christ. However, once you decide to fellowship and honestly face what has hardened your heart, peace and joy will once again return to your life.

Forgiving yourself for the sins you have committed is also required if you want to soften your heart.  God has taken all the sins of the world, including yours, and laid them on the cross.  It is finished.  When you refuse to forgive yourself you are dishonoring what Christ has done for you.  When you confess your sin, it is cast as far as the east is from the west.  It is forgotten.  Stop reminding your Father of things He has already forgiven and forgotten.  Stop beating yourself up!  He was beaten and bruised so that you would not have to suffer His fate.  Say these words aloud:  By His wounds I am healed.

“As far as the east is from the west, 
so far has He removed our transgressions from us.” Psalm 103:12 (NIV)

 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”    John 15:13 (NIV) 

“It is better to heed the rebuke of a wise person than to listen to the song of fools.” Ecclesiastes 7:5 (NIV)

Make Room For The Blessings Of God

Dirty Hands:Sin

Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.”  Ephesians 4:31 (NIV)

“For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”    Matthew 6:14-15 (NIV) 

“Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord.” Romans 12:19 (NIV)

Dear One,

There is so much sorrow and suffering in this world.  Not one life manages to escape difficult times. In fact, good seasons and hard ones are just part of life’s journey.  God never promised us ONLY a season of joy, or sorrow.  In fact, maybe that is why we live on a planet that works through four different seasons. 

It is never pleasant to work through struggles, tests of faith, and heartache.  Such times require endurance and spiritual strength, but there is good that comes out of these challenges. It might take some reflection and healing before you can recognize and acknowledge the positive, but there is always something praiseworthy to be found in every circumstance.  However, this by no means negates the pain that was birthed out of your difficulty.

When you suffer a loss, hardship, or pain due to the wrongs of another person, revenge may be on your mind.  Anger might arise out of injustices.  Lies or slander may have knocked you down and a need to get even may be fueling your day-to-day steps. 

The Word tells us NOT to sin in our anger.  Jesus felt righteous indignation and anger but He did not sin while angry.  You and I have the freedom to express our angry feelings, but we do not have the right to be somebody’s judge and jury.  God is just and it is His right to correct His children, who are His creation.

When anger, revenge, hate, and unforgiveness fills your every thought, you leave little or no space for goodness and blessings to enter your heart.  The more you are able to release to God, the more room you will find in your heart for peace and rest.  With peace comes contentment.  Trusting God with the injustices of this world will free you up to live the life you have been called to live. 

The life you have been given is a gift and should be lived as one full of love, endless forgiveness, eternal hope, and spiritual joy. You will have no more tears when you reach your eternal home and this life is but a flash and a spark. Release all bitterness and unrighteous anger. When you do, you will feel one hundred pounds lighter. 

In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry,” Ephesians 4:26 (NIV) 

“ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” Matthew 5:44-45 (NIV)

Open The Eyes Of My Heart God

Search My Heart:Open I

“Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.  See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.”   Psalm 139:23-24 (NIV)

Reflection, stillness, and meditation should be a part of prayer.  We need to listen for answers and instructions from God as much as we need to make petitions.  When we have worries or confusion in our heart, they will eat up our energy and distract us.  It takes faith to lay them down at the throne of God with an expectation that they will be handled. 

Philippians 4:6 Instructs us to be anxious about nothing. Through prayers and a thankful heart, we can rest in a peace that transcends all understanding. This supernatural peace is similar to that found in the “eye of a hurricane.”  You will enjoy light winds and fair weather. In the eye there is blue sky and usually no precipitation. 

When a trial begins, you may be caught off guard and fall prey to the distractions and painful debris it tosses your way.  The whirling hurricane winds might even succeed in confusing you and thus leave you in a daze, wondering what to do.  It is not until you let go of everything you are holding with an iron fist, and toss it back into the storm, that God can finally work.  He will take hold of your trouble and turn it into something amazing and wondrous.

People may think you a fool when you release troubles to God.  They want you to act. They don’t understand that by waiting for God to act you are taking action.  It is highly probable that they will misunderstand your act of faith and trust in God’s power.  We live in a world where people fix their own problems and don’t ask for God’s help.  “God helps those who help themselves” is a well-known phrase. However, it nullifies God’s desire for us to rely on Him.  He wants to care for us.  He wants to be our provider.

Silence before God will provide you with better listening skills, and improve your sensitivity to the promptings of the Holy Spirit.  We are to walk by faith and not by sight.  This concept will confound many of those around you, and they may call you irresponsible or a fool.  But God loves to turn things into good, so any steps in faith you make will serve as a future testimony of God’s faithfulness to provide for all of your needs.

God’s Word will be a lamp onto your feet and help you to find your way out of any troublesome storm.  While you present your request to God, examine your heart.  Ask God to reveal any sins or areas of weakness that need work.  He will be faithful to open the eyes of your heart.

Psalm 119:105 (NIV)   “Your word is a lamp for my feet,
a light on my path.”

Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV)   “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

 

Resurrection: God’s Victory Through Jesus

Jesus w:Mary & John He Is Risen

Luke 23:43 (NIV)  “Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

 Easter is a day of victory, love, hope, and promise.  Jesus suffered the incredible humiliation of the cross and endured great suffering for our sakes.  Let me mention just a few of the horrors He willingly suffered for our sakes, in the name of unconditional love.

Jesus endured the rejection and false testimonies of His chosen people.  His disciples denied and abandoned Him in the Garden of Gethsemane, only to follow Him at a distance.  (John alone stood at the foot of the cross with His mother, Mary.)  The Jewish people convinced Pilate to release Barabbas, a convicted murder, because they wanted Jesus crucified.

Soldiers spit at our Savior and made Him wear a crown of thorns.  They whipped him and mocked him and made him carry a cross to his place of death.  Nails through bone and flesh attached Him to a wooden cross.  After suffering separation from His heavenly Father, because of the sins He carried to the cross, He gave up His spirit.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life (Jn. 3:16). This truly is a wondrous love!

There were two criminals crucified with Christ and both were guilty of their crimes.  One of the two men mocked Jesus and threw insults His way. However, the other criminal acknowledged his own sin and rebuked the other criminal for his scorn towards the Redeemer.

“Don’t you fear God, since you are under the same sentence?  We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve.  But this man has done nothing wrong.”

He then asked Jesus to remember him upon entering His kingdom.  Jesus lovingly replied, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:38-43) 

This act of forgiveness and hope has given many believers comfort.  We do not know what happens in the final moments of a person’s life.  This story reminds us that it is never too late to be saved and rescued from the pit of hell.

While on our earthly journey, we are to walk by faith.  It is by grace that we are saved, but we are also told that faith without works is dead.  So did the criminal on the cross just manage to get into heaven by the seat of his pants?  Yes, probably so.  Did he have any rewards or treasure laid up once he got there?  After all, he wasn’t a follower and believer of Christ for very long. 

(Here is where I might surprise you with my thoughts.)  How many people were at the foot of the cross witnessing this dialogue?  I would say there were some, and they may have even decided to accept Christ as their Savior.  But now think about this:  How many people have heard this story long after the criminal entered paradise with Jesus?  I would say more than we could imagine.

I believe many have been comforted by this story of a last minute conversion.  Wouldn’t this alone earn him some treasure in heaven? Could this story be one that has led a multitude into believing that Jesus is the Son of God?  I am sure of it. 

It is never too late to give your heart to God, and start living FOR Him. If there is a lost soul you have given up on, remember there is always hope thanks to the blood and sacrifice of Jesus Christ.  He won the battle over sin and death and died for us all, including the prodigal son.  Because of Jesus, our sins were nailed to the cross once and for all.  It is a free gift for all to receive, if only we choose to accept it. With an open heart and open arms, Jesus is offering salvation to everyone.  May His sacrifice and resurrection give you enough hope to carry you through another year. 

Romans 6:8-11 (NIV)
   ”Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.”

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