Tag Archives: discipline

Free Indeed

For some reason, Lord, as I read this verse in Psalm 147, I think of repentance. How greatly we need You if we are truly to repent.

You, Father, see and know the heart to greater depths of understanding than we can even begin to fully fathom. Only You can help us know the true issue of heart that keeps us snared in habits of sin.

I keep thinking of how weak willed I am, frustrated in areas of struggle I feel powerless to change. The thing I discern right now is my need to stop striving against what I see in my struggle and begin sincerely seeking Your revelation of the heart of my struggle. I need You, Lord.

So search me, O God, and know my heart. Try me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any hurtful or grievous way in me and lead me in the way everlasting. (Psalm 139:23-24)

What freedom we possess when we trust in You, Lord. Oh, my soul, take a breath and rest in God.

In Jesus and for Your glory I pray, amen.

“Let a man regard us in this manner, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. In this case, moreover, it is required of stewards that one be found trustworthy. But to me it is a very small thing that I may be examined by you, or by any human court; in fact, I do not even examine myself. For I am conscious of nothing against myself, yet I am not by this acquitted; but the one who examines me is the Lord. Therefore do not go on passing judgment before the time, but wait until the Lord comes who will both bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men’s hearts; and then each man’s praise will come to him from God.” 1 Corinthians 4:1-5 NASB

Choose Life! What does that mean anyway?

I wrote the following for my Spark page blog and thought I would share it with you here. SparkPeople is a free healthy lifestyle community I am in. If you struggle to eat right and exercise, it is an excellent site providing resource materials, tools for a successful journey, support from other members, and teams to challenge our journey forward. Whether you are young and relatively healthy, handicapped and in need of support, or older and in need of encouragement to change long held habits, their is a support system for you at http://www.sparkpeople.com. (If you join SparkPeople, tell them TRANSFORM-ABBY  sent you and it will link us as friends. Then be sure to tell me who you are.)

So here is today’s blog share with you:

Choose Life! What does that mean anyway?

Scripture encourages us to Choose life. That phrase hit my heart this morning as I reread my own status, and I wondered with regard to our Spark journey, “What does that mean anyway?”

My first thoughts went to the passage itself for my answer (Deuteronomy 30). In that passage it tells us to choose life or death, good or evil, blessing or curse. So to choose life on this journey is to:

Do good toward ourselves and, in the doing, to do it for those we love as well. When we eat right, we are doing good for self. And providing good things for self generally will make that same provision available for those we love so they, too, wind up eating better. When we do good toward ourselves by moving our bods and making sure we get needed activity it is good for us, yes, but it also provides an example worth following for our children and grandchildren, and even opportunity for them, our mates and other loved ones and friends to join us. So choosing life is to choose the good by doing what is best for ourselves with that good having the potential to impact those closest to us. And doing good for self adds strength to our days so we are better able to do for others.

Choose blessing: I have a note up on my bathroom mirror that reads, “Choose the things that matter most.” Choosing blessing is to have right priorities so that we are blessed in life, enjoying the good things in it, and so we are a blessing in life, giving self and giving our best to others. The example that came to mind is to know when spending time with that grandbaby that is visiting is more important than making sure the furniture is dusted. And which is more important? A baby that feels loved and safe, or harping at them in anger over the fingerprints left for us to clean? Choose blessing by having right priorities.

There are so many thoughts in scripture to direct us in how to choose life: “set your mind and keep it set on the things above, the higher things” (Colossians 3, AMP); “do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit…do not merely look out for your own personal interests” (Philippians 2); “treat others as you would like to be treated”. And Luke 6:31-33 brings me full circle as it instructs:

“Treat others the same way you want them to treat you.  If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same.”

Agape love loves others as we love ourselves, doing good to them, having their best interests at heart. It is not based upon a system of reward only for those we feel deserve it. It is based on who we are. And love for others begins with a love for God that knows how to love oneself, and love others in kind. If I will not do something to or toward myself because it would not be good for me, I must not do that to others. If I do good for another, but fail to do the same for myself, I have committed self-neglect. I cannot take proper care of others if I fail to meet my own needs so I have strength and energy to care for others. Thus we are right back to the point of fact that to have life abundant and full, we must do good toward ourselves and others.

Choose life, beloved, and this journey will be a true blessing that makes a life-journey worth taking.

Possess Your Own Vessel (Body)

“Finally then, brethren, we request and exhort you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us instruction as to HOW YOU OUGHT TO WALK AND PLEASE GOD (just as you actually do walk), that you excel still more. For you know what commandments we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus. For THIS IS THE WILL OF GOD, YOUR SANCTIFICATION; that is, that you ABSTAIN FROM SEXUAL IMMORALITY; that each of you KNOW HOW TO POSSESS HIS OWN VESSEL in sanctification and honor, NOT IN LUSTFUL PASSION, like the Gentiles WHO DO NOT KNOW GOD; And That No Man Transgress And Defraud His Brother In The Matter Because The Lord Is The Avenger In All These Things, just as we also told you before and solemnly warned you. For God has not called us for the purpose of impurity, but in sanctification. So, HE WHO REJECTS THIS IS NOT REJECTING MAN BUT THE GOD who gives His Holy Spirit to you” ~ 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8.

Sexual immorality is rampant in our day, even among those who belong to God. Adultery, fornication, incest, pornography, homosexuality, rape and molestation of innocence: all these are addressed in God’s Word as being against His will for us, and we see it all in our day, in ever increasing prevalence, even among the people of God. I believe all these perversions of God’s ideal way sicken the heart of God who calls us to sanctification that has a vital purpose.

The institution of marriage and the act of marriage, as God intended it to be, is a picture of what our relationship is supposed to be like with our Holy God. It is the giving of oneself fully to one person, able to so greatly trust that person that we can be “naked” – fully exposed before them. Such intimacy is not meant to be shared with any other than the one we are intended for, the one we are to spend our life with. In likeness to our relationship with the One True God, we are to be saved and kept for the one we are meant to be with for all time.

Even to look on another so as to lust after them, which is the business of pornography, is to sin against God and against His holy institution. Premarital experience and fleshly lust rob of experiencing God’s best for us in our relationships and it hinders our ability to trust each other, which is vital to true intimacy. I know this for a fact, not only because of what the Spirit has taught me in God’s word, but unfortunately because of personal experience.

I was sexually active in my youth, not having anyone to teach me these things. I married unwisely to get out of that lifestyle and that marriage ended in divorce. When God brought my husband into my life – and He did! He has made this clear to us in many ways through our years – I struggled over my past as I began to learn the truth of God’s ideal. It hindered our intimacy for a long time, until God healed me of the consequence of my sin, delivering me from the guilt and shame, and set me free indeed. It is my hope in sharing these things that I can spare some of you the pain and struggle.

The pre-marital impurity done by or to those still waiting for their mate-in-Christ is the commission of sin against our Holy God and that intended mate. It is also sin against one’s own flesh, and I am not just talking about STDs or out of wedlock pregnancy.

Sexually Transmitted Diseases and the potential for pregnancy are just part of the consequences we can face. Sexual intimacy with another gets into the depths of our being. When we do find our mate, flashbacks of previous experiences can hit our hearts to bring us to shame. It can keep us from satisfaction with our mates and hinder our healing from that past.

With every act that is not sanctified and set apart in keeping self for one’s future partner, we do harm to these vital relationships as it affects our very personalities and expectations for marital relations. Needing to “practice” so we will be ready for our mate, knowing how to satisfy them, is a lie straight out of hell.

No two people are alike. What one likes and expects, another will abhor. If you “practice” with one and like certain things, then marry another who does not like those same things, you will be constantly dissatisfied with your mate, ill-equipped to satisfy them, and frequently tempted to go back to where your desires can be met. Sexual relations is one area where ignorance is bliss. If you come together in innocence and learn to please each other, you will be satisfied together. When you grow in your intimacy together, learn what each likes, and minister to each other’s needs, that very intimacy satiates desire and makes you one flesh together, protecting you from desire for another.

Realize, beloved one, that until a couple marries, they do not yet know that they will be married. Anything can happen to stop our plans for marriage between the proposal and the “I do”; so “we are getting married” is not a license to take to ourselves the privilege of marriage before we are legitimately wed together. TRUE LOVE WAITS! This false belief that “engaged” is the same as “married” has ruined the gift of purity for many young couples. From the instant of that first kiss of longing that makes one want to touch, all the way to the actual penetration, all of that act of intimacy is sex! It is a gift to be given on the wedding night, AFTER the “I do” is done. Scripturally, marriage does not begin until the parents give the bride to the groom and all human legalities that define marriage are fulfilled.

The next portion of our passage, “That No Man Transgress And Defraud His Brother In The Matter Because The Lord Is The Avenger In All These Things” speaks to me of the insult we do to others through failing to possess our own vessels in sanctity for our marriage partner.

Defraud: to use deceit, falsehoods, or trickery to obtain money, an object, rights or anything of value belonging to another. From the premarital encounter that destroys the gift of purity meant for another, to rape, sexual immorality done with another’s mate or against one’s own mate, any sin of immorality that is done by force against another ~ all of these are transgressions that defraud another. And all of these defraud God, for in that instant we insult the One who loves us most and rob Him of our wholehearted intimacy with Him as God and Lord.

If we are His child, such acts grieve and quench the Holy Spirit who dwells within us. Since God is always with and for the believer, we cause pain to His Holy Presence, who is made to experience our sin by virtue of His intimate knowledge of us. Such acts do great harm to our relationship with Him. And it is an act of blasphemy, as it gives God’s name in us, “Christian”, a bad reputation.

I believe the “brother” in this statement toward those we defraud could be translated “brethren,” which would mean: our brothers and sisters in Christ; our family and those we are kin to; those of the same people group; any people whose lives are touched by our sin. Even the angels in heaven who are watching God’s people and the triune-God with whom we are one are adversely affected by our sin.

When we commit adultery, we sin not only with the person we partner with in the act, but we sin against their present or future mate, their children, and all who will be touched by the pain of the consequences brought about by the sin done and exposed to light. And what does it say? “The Lord is the avenger in all things.” So the consequences that come against us because of our sin come from the very hand of God. STDs that destroy our bodies; out of wedlock pregnancies that sideline our plans for the future; marriages ended because of hurt and lack of trust; these consequences and more are allowed by God because of our sin. HE WHO REJECTS THIS IS NOT REJECTING MAN BUT GOD.

Pray as God leads you today for yourself, those you love, and all God brings to your heart today. If you have committed these sins already, repent, stop what you are doing, get right with God and seek godly council to help you correctly deal with the sin done.

Pray for the body of Christ to be sanctified and set apart in purity, delivered from perversion, and to know how to possess their own body in obedience to the Father. It is better to be a eunuch by choice than to commit acts of such sin and face the wrath of our Holy God.

Jesus-Bride006If you are one who has been hurt by such sin, forgive for your own sake, so that you can be in right standing with God, able to get His perspective on the issue, and seek godly council to help you find healing and strength to carry on. Unforgiveness, bitterness and anger will hurt you! Do not hold on to these but seek the healing power of God to equip you to entrust these hurts to Him.

Whichever side of the insult you are on, beloved, whether the sinner or the one sinned against, God will heal you. He will enable you to love and to trust again as you seek His face and His grace, which is sufficient for ALL THINGS. And, as I can attest to, His healing can establish your ability to experience true intimacy with your mate, renewing the gift He intended you to give to each other alone.

The Stand ~ Hillsong: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kV5iZBTNYrk&list=PLfiEjLIYhJ9BycuYe34CTDe-q9HZzszNs&index=4

The Prophetic Warning

I sat down to get into God’s word and opened my Bible to Judges because I committed myself to reading through it while we are studying Gideon with Priscilla Shirer. My mind did not go to anything else for my time this morning, so I started reading. Then I clearly discerned, “You did not ask Me where I want you to read this morning?”

“Okay, Lord. I will finish this chapter and then ask,” I foolishly reply. A couple of verses later, I knew that was silly and it was not working for me, so I stopped: “Okay, Lord. Where do You want me to read this morning?”

“Hezekiah.”

*!&^%, = confusion. “Lord, there isn’t a book of Hezekiah, is there (looking to make sure)? Am I supposed to do a word study on him? Where do You want me to read?”

“Hosea.”

So I go to Hosea, and there is Hezekiah as confirmation. Hosea prophesied for God during the days of numerous kings, one of which was Hezekiah. Here I find God speaking to me for our nation who is walking in the ways of Israel, just as they did in the days of Hosea.

The things God speaks to Hosea for those of his day are being spoken to the people of our land in our day. Here is what I see:

Our land, as in the land of Israel in Hosea’s day, is guilty of “flagrant harlotry,” forsaking Jehovah-God as LORD. Even in the church, many of us hold to a form of godliness, but deny its Power (2 Timothy 3:5). In all of history, Jehovah has not sat still for such behavior. He will not tarry long when we fall to following after other things as if they are our God and the one who blesses our lives.

Our nation, whether or not we want to hear and believe it, is under the disciplining hand of Jehovah-God. People don’t often like to hear that, but God disciplines those He loves, especially those who are sons. That is scriptural (Hebrews 12). All that we are going through, and that which is yet to come our way, is being allowed by God for the purpose of getting our attention and allowing us opportunity to see that all those other gods and / or the people or resource we look to as in the place of a god have failed. We have walked out from under the protective cover of God as a nation.

There are two ways I know of in which we come out from under the protective cover and provision of God: one is to walk out from under through sin and refusing His will in our lives. The second way we find ourselves outside the protective cover of God is for Him to lift His hand away from us for some eternal purpose of His own. With these, even though we walk out of the hedge of His protection by our choice, there is most often still a grace cover that limits the consequence of our coming out from under our Protection. As example, we see this in the book of Job and in God’s work of deliverance for Israel, taking them from Egypt to the land of promise, and in the cycle of Israel found all throughout the book of Judges. But with sin issues, where we deny Jehovah as the one and only true God, the hedge is removed more and more until we repent, as God releases us, giving us over to our own way. Right now God’s hedge is greatly removed from our land, and, as in the land of Egypt in Moses day, God is removing the hedge in areas where we rely on false gods, revealing their inadequacy and His supremacy.

Through the book of Hosea today, here is what God is revealing to me:

God is “removing the bow” – the power – of our nation. He is sowing weakness in us until we realize Who our true Power is and return to Him. We are not strong in ourselves as a nation. We are strong because of Jehovah-God’s grace to us. Until we realize and return to Him who is our strength, our bow – our economic and military power in the earth will be weak.

God has also removed His hand of provision from us as a nation. Crops will continue to fail us as a nation. Our clothing needs will go unmet more and more. I have found myself lately, as I shop for new clothing, making sure I buy things I will enjoy wearing for a while, things I sense will last me.

As our power fails, we will not find pity from God or others. God is the one who has given us favor in the earth, but we continue to show signs of thinking we earned the favor and position we have in the world. Others have looked up to us because God has given us favor as a people who believe in Jehovah-God through a faith that walks that belief out and reveals itself through integrity as His people. We have walked out from under God’s favor and He has lifted His hand of grace, therefore we will find no pity nor aid from those who would normally have compassion toward us because of God’s favor.

We, who have been known as a godly, Christian nation, now are being called, “not My people”, not because that is what God wants, but because we have walked away from serving Him alone as God. We as a nation are not walking as His image bearers, fully trusting in and committed to Him. As a nation, we are taking away the right of the people of God to serve Him, express Him, and be what we are called to be, and this is being done for the sake of those who serve other gods, or profess no god at all. And God’s people are too often cowering under the pressure of laws and regulations that deny Him as God and require us to be silent in our beliefs and faith. A government entity who professes many gods or no god, leads a nation to the same.

As in generations past, God has kept a remnant for Himself and that remnant in our nation is growing and making itself known, taking its stand on godliness that obeys Jehovah’s will and pleasure above that of man. God’s hand of provision and grace remains with the remnant. But as a nation, we have left our first love, giving ground to false gods who are rising up to greatness in the land through the numbers who are following them. We have removed Jehovah from government and schools, and are being pushed to remove Him from society as a whole. Thus, Jehovah-God is removing His hand of grace and favor from us as a nation.

This fact is seen on the news every day. There are signs in the news that consistently reveal that we have surrendered to being a nation of many gods. Jehovah will not give His glory to another. Thus His hand of discipline is upon our land and God says to us, “You are not My people and I am not your God.” We are no longer a godly, Christian nation. The covenant with and alliance of Jehovah in our nation is broken as we see other gods given power in our land, and see our land weakened, God, letting the seeds of weakness have full sway in the land, His hand of power and grace removed from us.

Even so, people-of-God, Jehovah leaves to us hope in Him. He tells us, who are of the remnant to remind one another that we ARE His people and we are pitied—given grace with mercy—and to do so with hope filled assurance that God will succeed in turning our nation back to Himself. No matter how hopeless it looks to us, hope in God to do the impossible sustains us, so we must earnestly, expectantly hope in God and work toward seeing hope fulfilled. Like for Israel in the day of Hosea, as God lifted His hand from the nation, He did so for the good of the nation, to lead them back to reliance on Him alone, and He let Hosea know early in his ministry that they would turn back to Him to be called “His pitied / graced people” anew.

The difficulty that is upon us is there to reveal to all the land that our false gods over us are impotent. God will use the remnant to reveal His power, glory, and sufficiency. God’s hand of protection will be powerfully and recognizably over those of the remnant; His grace sufficient will be recognized as our obvious supply; and His peace that passes understanding will cause us to stand out as we remember our God and put our trust in Him alone.

As I read on in Hosea, these things stand out to me:

God will hedge the way of the harlot with thorns so she cannot go on the paths she desires, but will be herded into the paths of His design. This stubborn stance we see going on in congress that has our government shutdown is a hedge of thorns. Pray the thorns of God will stand firm so as to be used of God to take us as a nation where we need to be, to that place where He is found waiting for our return to Him as God-alone.

If you, like I, have loved ones who are chasing after the false gods of the day: happiness, wealth, mother earth, or more, take courage. Those who are running after their false gods will find no satisfaction. Their dissatisfaction will turn them back to the Faithful One anew.

One thing I note is that our nakedness as a nation will be revealed. All those things we do in secret and try to hide will come out in the open and our lewdness will be found out from the top down. No one will be able to rescue those ensnared in God’s hand of discipline, and that which is our “gaiety” will be removed. There will be no happiness in our ungodly pursuits; only discontent, discord, and dissatisfaction until only deprivation, destitution and deficiency remain to those who refuse Him His rightful place in our life and land.

Even the righteous who truly seek after Father-Jehovah are being led of God to tell their darkest secrets and how God led them to repentance and victory over sin. It is not easy to do, but as we get real with God, with ourselves, and with others, God is revealed, and those in need of Him, see Him as He is and realize their only true Help is in Jehovah-Yeshua.

This post though separate from the focus on who we are in Christ fits with it as it introduces our next stop on the road of discovering what those belonging to God as His possession look like. We are “real”. See you in the next post of Darlene’s Ponderings.