I am no longer the things of my past...I am the daughter of the Great I AM.

Exodus 3:14
And God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM." And He said, "Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, 'I AM has sent me to you.'"
2 Corithians 6:18
I will be a Father to you, and you shall be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Change You Can Count On

Over the last couple of months, God has been working on an area of my life that I need to change. (Today's blog is not about that, although I am sure that there will be a future blog concerning it.) As I was thinking about this change, and how much further I have to go with it, I thought of how many things God has changed in me over the last few years. It was then that I came to a realization... The more time you spend in God's word, the more you change. The more time you spend out of His word, the more you conform to the world. (Some of you have probably known this for a long time, but please remember, sometimes I am slow.)

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. Romans 12:2

Through the years, I have come across verses that have opened my eyes to areas in my life where I am out of balance with God's plan for me. Some of these have been easy, even welcome changes. Other times, I have spent weeks, yes even months, studying scripture to be sure I understand the change needed. During that time of study, and for a long time after, the change takes place.

As I look at the world around me, I am sure of one thing... there are a lot of people that are not spending time in God's word. The only way that we are going to be able to change what is around us, is to first be transformed by God. Instead of trying to fix things by the world's standards, we need to be in balance with God's plans for us.

I will leave you with this question, are you seeking God through His word, and accepting the changes He requires? Or are you skimming or even skipping God's word, and living outside of God's plan for you?

Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” John 8:31-32

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

No Peace When You are Hiding

I have a well meaning family member who often brings my past mistakes up to me. The intention is always to show me a way in which to hide my past. It disturbs this person, that I am not interested in hiding my past mistakes.

I spent years trying to hide, cover, or avoid past sins (both those done to me and done by me). During the years that I tried covering my past, I stayed nervous and fearful. I was constantly afraid that someone would figure out "who" I was. That is all behind me now. God has shown me that I am no longer the things of my past.

I confessed all of it to God, then I let go of it. I cling to 1 John 1:9

But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.

Since I finally let go of my past, I have found a few things to be true: (these are only a few that come to mind as I type, and in no particular order)

*There is no peace when you are hiding.

* Even though you are afraid most people know what you've done,are talking about you and judging you, most people don't know.

* Once you have confessed your sins to God, and changed your actions, people don't care when they find out.

* When you are in the midst of hiding your sin, your imagination is far worse than reality.

* Sin is sin. Even though people may qualify sin, God doesn't. Sin, of any sort, separates us from God. Confession restores our relationship with Him.

* When God prompts me to share my testimony, it has always helped others who are struggling with their past (or current) sins.

* God was not surprised by my choices, and He has used them to mold me into the person I am today.

I have found that living in the light of God is much better than hiding in the dark. If you are caught up in the "hiding" game, I pray that you trust God with whatever it is. Give it to Him, and allow His peace to flow over and through you.

And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful. Colossians 3:15

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Where is the Modesty?

Okay, I am just going to go ahead and jump off into this... Every summer, I dread seeing all the beach pictures on facebook. Don't get me wrong, I love to see the ocean, the sand, and all the cool family photos. What I hate is all the girls that feel they need to post pics of themselves in bikinis... And let's face it, it is not just the beach wear that lacks a little in the material department. I truly cannot understand why girls (of all ages) feel they have to show off everything that God gave them. Even at church this morning, I found myself appalled by some of the apparel. I often find myself asking the question, Where is the Modesty?

While studying modesty in scripture, I came across a commentary by Andrew Wommack on the scripture 1 Timothy 2:9. I want to share it with you now. (You can go to awmi.net for further commentary or more information on Andrew Wommack.)

1 Timothy 2:9
In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with braided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array;

Note 1 at 1 Tim. 2:9: Paul had just admonished men to be holy, without wrath and doubting. In a similar way, he now instructs women how to behave.

Note 2 at 1 Tim. 2:9: There is much contention over what "modest" is. What is acceptable dress in one culture is offensive in another. What is modest in one era would be considered risque in another. Yet, despite the hazards of trying to define modesty, the scriptures demand that we make an attempt.

Our English word "modest" comes from a Latin word meaning "moderate." This is significant because it means that the word "modest" is promoting the idea of being moderate. Whatever the culture or styles of the day, a modest person is one who will not embrace the extreme. Those who embrace styles and fashions that differ from their culture's norms, are usually not modest.

Therefore, it is appropriate to at least partially define modesty by a comparison to those around us. The attitude of "who cares what others think. I'm an individual. I march to my own drum," is an extreme and selfish attitude that violates modesty. A person can become extreme on opposite ends of the spectrum. Those who hold to the styles of the 1700's, in an attempt to be modest, are also extreme.

So, moderation is one of the key elements of modesty. Paul goes on to reveal that immodesty puts an undue emphasis on the external looks while true godliness places the importance on the hidden man of the heart.

Note 3 at 1 Tim. 2:9: Peter makes a similar statement about the dress of women, in 1 Peter 3:3-5 (see parallel Scriptures). In this passage, Peter mentions the way the hair is fixed, wearing gold, and the type of apparel.

Some people have interpreted these passages to say that women cannot braid their hair, wear gold, pearls, or expensive clothing. However, that's missing the point. The way Peter stated it in 1 Peter 3:3, was that women were not suppose to put on apparel. Does that mean they aren't suppose to wear clothes? Certainly not!

The point is that the emphasis should not be on how we look outwardly. In both passages, the instructions on dress are followed by the revelation that it is the inner person who makes one beautiful. That is repeated other places in scripture. Proverbs 19:22 says, "Kindness makes a man attractive. . ." (LB). This is the true beauty of a Christian.

Each person has a desire to be attractive. This need should be fulfilled by our conduct and good works, not by our outward appearance. Gold, pearls and expensive clothing can be worn, but the admonition is not to be gaudy with these things. Let your true beauty come from your heart, which is hidden.

Note 4 at 1 Tim. 2:9: Costly is a relative term. Some garments that might be considered cheap in the United States might be worth a year's wages in some third world countries. Therefore, just as with the word "modest" (see note 2 at this verse), "moderation" is a key word in describing what costly means. Our dress should be appropriate to the situation and culture where we live.