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Posts Tagged ‘christian’

Forgiveness is a powerful thing. Forgiveness enables the place of reconciliation, redemption, and renewing. Recognized forgiveness releases that exhale of freedom.

Forgiveness is a theme laced in every area in the bible. Forgiveness is the major theme of the bible. There are some stories I am drawn to more than others. Today I want to tell one woman’s story taken from Luke 7. Some suppose that the “sinner” in this story was Mary Magdalene. So that is the name I will use.

The emptiness was overwhelming as Mary rolled over to find a denarii on her bedside table. She sat up and tears began to stream down her face. “I didn’t even know his name” she whispered through her deep breaths. Mary looked around her room and wondered how long it had been since she really knew who she was. Mary spent so much time in this life style of one wrong choice after another that she forgot what joy felt like. She spent too long associating joy with the few moments spent in the arms of another.

Some men she knew, some she didn’t. Some she enticed, some forced themselves on her. All ended with the same emptinesss of her own heart’s echo.

Mary wiped her eyes, got dressed, and headed out to the market. She rarely made eye contact with others out of shame, but she could still hear their taunts and words to her. Silent tears would lace her face as she made her way through the streets. Some voices were familiar. Some voices were of those “friends”she new growing up. Her heart stirred as she asked herself, “how long ago did I become this person?

That late morning, she heard rumors of a man named Jesus coming to town. He would be having dinner at Simon’s house that evening. Mary’s curiosity grew and asked someone who this Jesus was. “Jesus is the healer of disease. He awakens the dead, casts of evil spirits, and even forgives sins.

Forgiver of sins?” For the first time a feeling of hope began to grow in her heart. She went back and forth all day in her heart, wondering if she had too many sins that were beyond forgiveness.

That night, Mary grabbed her alabaster jar and headed to Simon’s house. Mary crept up to the house and peared through the window. She found them all reclining at the table. After deliberating for quite some time, she entered the house and walked straight to Jesus. The site of him was overwhelming. She could already sense something different about him. Jesus smiled as Mary approached. Mary bent down and wept like she never wept before. It was as if years of pent up tears flowed from her soul. She poured everything she could out on Jesus. She offered everything she could in hopes for mercy.

At this point grumbling broke out among the men. She heard names being hurled in her direction. At one point it got so bad she stopped and looked up at Jesus. In that moment, his eyes were full of compassion, joy, love, and genuiness. She felt seen for the first time. Jesus’ eyes pierced her wounded places.

Jesus then did something no man had done. Jesus owned Mary in front of everyone. Jesus stopped the party and acknowledge Mary as a real person. She had been overseen her whole life, and tonight she was the center of attention in a new positive way. Jesus loved her.

After a story, Jesus turned to her and smiled. He said words that she wanted to engrave on her heart, “your sins, which are many, are forgiven.” Jesus spoke to the heart of Mary.

Oh the rush of exhale and freedom. She felt whole and new. She felt redeemed and loved. Mary was over joyed that her many sins were not too many for forgiveness. She left different that night. A new beginning started. Mary finally knew love not condemnation.

I don’t know this woman’s story. I don’t know what constituted her “many sins.” I can imagine her titles. I can imagine some of her decisions. She humbled herself long enough to realize that she was in need of forgiveness. We are all included in her story. We are all in need of forgiveness. The question is, will you humble yourself long enough to realize that?

What keeps you from knowing forgiveness?

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For the past couple of weeks, I feel like I have been running into the theme of forgiveness. It seems like one of those times where every other conversation/sermon seems to have that one verse or idea you’ve been wondering about. That’s me. My usual response to those moments, you know once I finally get the memo to pay attention, is “dang it!” In the past week or so I have noticed a different response in me about forgiveness. Forgiveness has silenced my heart, and I lower my head.

We have entered that time after Easter where everyone has two choices. The first is that of choosing to walk in response to what Easter is all about, and that is forgiveness.

Most hearts are stirred around the holiday’s for good reason. The grief of death and the celebration of solidified hope came to pass. Christ rose and conquered death for me. This is no small thing. I want to continue to work out what was stirred up in me.

The second is the choice to “go back” to how life was before the message of the cross. One can look at Easter as a great holiday and fun times with the fam. Sometimes experiencing Christ can be boxed into that camp high experience. A camp experience is that high you can feel while being away from home, bonding with new friends, outside of your comfort zone, and connecting in a way you’ve never known before. Once you hit home that high fizzles and back to “real life”‘ you go.

Forgiveness is hard for me. I hate hurting people. I hate being on that side of pain. I really hate being on the side of the one needing forgiveness. It is the worst feeling in the world for me, (well beside puking).

I know I can dismiss forgiveness for me so easily. In taking over condemnation for myself, I dismiss the excruciating pain of the cross for me. I do not want to dismiss Christ.

Too often I say to God, “Don’t worry I will punish myself.” I get stuck in the weight of condemnation. It is so hard for me to hear, “Tracee, you are forgiven.” This is both from people and from God.

In remaining in the shackles of unforgiveness, I miss freedom. I miss the message of my savior. I miss the heart of another for me. I miss grace. I miss love. I even miss humility for me.

Part of my Good Friday pondering is to not miss love this year. I want to stare at the cross and really get that love poured down in the form of mangled forgiveness for me. I desire for that to be the heart I love and forgive through in return. I think this might be my writing theme this week.

Lord, help me not miss your forgiveness and love for me.

How do you struggle with forgiveness?

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Hope is one of those things that can over joy the heart or make it sick. Hope feels like both the long anticipated climb to the top of a hill on a roller coaster, and the adrenaline of the drop down. Hope is anticipated. Hope is hoped for.

There is hope in the seen and the unseen. To hope could look like:  good grades, promotions, restoration, something new, success, dreams fulfilled, community, good days, or maybe that your alarm will go off. Maybe you hope for security and safety.

Hope has been on my heart this week. I find myself saying, “I hope” a lot. I am even saying it more talking with other people. I really do hope for many different things for people.

I spent some time reading about hope. It comes down to the truth that hope is nothing without Christ. He is our hope. Hope is believing in something only he can do. Hope depends on everything that is outside our own abilities. Our hope is to be in Christ. Hoping for good things is not bad, but setting your heart of hoping in God is what makes hope become hope.

Hope is the foundation of faith. Faith “is being sure of what you hope for and certain of what you do not see.

God is the only sure thing that can be hoped in. Is it hard to hope? Heck yes! Scripture also says to defer yourself hope will “make your heart sick.” Settling for a life without hope is dangerous to the soul. Hope brings life. Hope keeps the pulse of life going.

My heart needs some hope in the unwavering. There is so much freedom waiting for me if I would just risk to place all my hope eggs in his basket.

Hope takes faith. Faith takes hope.

The promise is awesome. Hope in him “will not disappoint.” How many things do you hope for/in right now that carry this promise?

What are you hopeful for?

What does it look like to hope for you?

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Today I just feel like praying. There are so many things I want to be on my knees about. My heart just wants to tap in to that peace that passes all understanding from Him.

Today I want to pray about everything and anything. Today I want to talk to my Savior who gets me.

I feel my best and most unedited prayers in what I call those “wee to the knees” times. Those are the before the sun comes up and can’t sleep kind of conversations with the Lord. It’s there I feel him close.

My prayer is that you feel him close today. Our hearts and minds are talking all the time. I want to encourage you to turn that talking to him today.

Would love for this to be a place you can pray as well. If you can and want to, I would love to be in on some of your conversations with him.

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As spring starts and all the things become new around me, I can’t help but crave that for my own heart. I think that there is a reason that God made seasons. For one it’s just a visual of hope that he makes all things new. I am in need of an all things new heart.

We are in Holy Week. The time of remember what Christ did for me on the cross. For some reason I can’t wait for this Easter. My heart feels like it is going through its own Holy Week. I have been taking a journey through the caverns of my heart for the past couple of months. It has been a hard season in the desert to feel the weight of my brokenness. There are a lot of wholes to work through.

God will forever be making all things in new in me. Today I am so grateful for that consistency in his character. I need the new. I crave the new. I am ready for him to “work on me.

Friday is always the day of rememberence of the sacrifice and the physical death part of Christ laying down his life so that I may know life and life eternal. As this day approaches I have a list in my head of characteristics, patterns of life, cycles of thought, and self-perception that need death in me. That is scary. There is mourning already for those things in me. They have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. It is time for death.

My soul is on its knees pleading for the old to pass away and the new to rise. There is hope for me yet. I am ready for the season of life.

Anything being made new in you?

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It’s Thursday and and I feel like my heart has gone through so many ups and downs this week. It has been rough exposing my unedited thoughts and heart for all to see. It has been hard to sit in the uncomfortable feeling of choosing vulnerability. I am not a fan of feeling out of control, but who is?

It has been a hard journey in confronting the weight of my fears. However, in the midst of those heavy places, I have heard his gentle whisper repeating, “faithful.” This is a word I crave to wash over my wounded heart. My fears are founded on experiencing the opposite.

The word “unfaithful” is often used in association with relationships and marital affairs. I wish different for so many people who have experienced the depth of this word. I wish I could change the wounds inflicted by this word. Unfortunately, our world exemplifies this word too often. The power of unfaithfulness is most deeply experienced within relationships.

Unfaithfulness is also known as being faithless. Faithless is becoming the new normal of our culture. Faithless can be defined as lacking consistentancy or loyalty. We lack the value of being true to our word. It is nearly impossible to place your trust in a faithless people.

A long time ago I made a decision to place my faith in God. I am realizing just how faithless I am/have been. The story of Hosea is one of the most hopeful stories for me. God called a man named Hosea to take on a prostitute as his wife. God wanted to use a human illustration of redemption as a result of our unfaithfulness to him. So Hosea married Gomer, (I might’ve gone with my middle name if I were Gomer, but that’s just me.) With in this extreme love story, Hosea fought for Gomer’s heart the way God stands in the gap for ours every day.

I am too much like Gomer. I am a person who has a hard time believing that love is for me. I have battles raging in my heart as I try and pry off my fingers of control. I am great at being faithful to me. In those times, I turn my back on God. I am faithless when I dismiss love and crowm myself unworthy. I choose unfaithfulness when I head down the road of self-sufficiency. I challenge God’s motives for my life. Sometimes I wait to see how long he will stay.

How much? How long Lord? He stretches out his arms and says, “eternity.

I change, he does not. I walk away, and he pursues. I tantrum, he waits. I identify myself with being worthless, but he hung on a cross to crown me as worth dying for. To the faithful, and faithless, he shows himself faithful. I exhale in that.

As the mess of me surfaces and fights, I hope to know faith more than I ever have before. I desire to be a faithful person. I want my character to be associated with faithfulness. I value so much when people consider me trustworthy. I am learning that God is also saying, “I, too, desire to be those things for you.”

Faithfulness is worth fighting for, because that is how God fights for us.

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When I was in high school, I would always be the one people would call at any hour of the night. I was “cool” because I had a pager. A what? Mmhmm, a pager. I had a close friend who did not live in the best of home environments. My friend would often page me in the middle of the night and I would drive over to her house and pick her up.

I will never forget this one night I received a page from her. Out of routine I hopped in the car and headed over. I parked in my normal spot and started up the walk way. I could hear yelling of profanity and cries from her younger siblings. It was a nice night, so all the windows were open. As I walked up to the door I stopped to gauge the situation at the window. In the living room was my friend, her younger brother, and father. My friend’s father was threatening to strike her younger brother. It was an intimdating scene to say the least. I didn’t know whether or not to knock or stay where I was.

Words grew in great volume as the tension rose. Just as I thought I was about to witness my first domestic violence, my friend stood in the gap between her younger brother and father. With words so calm, she said, “dad if you are going to hit anyone, you need to hit me.” There was no rage or anger in her voice, just waiting. My friend stood her ground as her father tried to manuver around to get at her younger brother.

Finally her father realized my friend was serious and not going to move. My friend stood in the gap to save her brother. I was silenced. In that moment I walked in the door and stood with my friend. Her dad stormed out and we gathered her things and left. That was one powerful stand.

I need that same protecting. The lies I believe in are abusive to me. I am bruised and wounded by the weight of my fears. I allow myself to be identified with being worthless and unlovable. In the midst of that, Jesus comes and stands in the gap. He gently says, “these lies and wounds belong to me.”  They still try and manuver around to inflict pain on me, but he stands firm and protects me.

This brings me hope as I take on the crater field of my heart. I hope you feel him standing in your gap to protect you.

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