Musings From A Musical Mind

Archive for the ‘Grace’ Category

What’s Your Story?

English: Motivational speaker Tony Robbins at ...

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Greg and I watched a very interesting interview the other day on OWN about Life Coach and Motivational Speaker, Tony Robbins.  We’ve been enjoying all of Oprah’s in-depth interviews with people she admires and this one with Tony was no exception.  If you missed it – try to catch it on a rerun or online somewhere.  There is a reason why Tony has been successful for many years – and has sold out seminars around the world.

What was the most interesting to us as we watched and heard what he said to empower people with their God-given strengths and gifts – was the humble past that he himself had come from.  Because of that neglect and abuse from family members, he decided that he was going to be different, whatever it took – and change his life for the better.  He found the key was in giving to others.

He also said something very important – we are defined by the story that we tell ourselves.

We may have had abuse, neglect, failure, disappointment or a list of other things be a part of our past – but if we keep including that narrative into our present – we will never  write a new chapter.  Those things will hold us back – frighten us and keep us from exploring the gifts that we have been given – as we tell ourselves, “you can’t do that”.

Our story need to remember what we’ve been through – but then we need to write that new chapter and leave it alone.

Here’s my story:

I am a redeemed child of God.  I am not perfect.  I have been involved with sin.  I have flirted with deceit.  I have failed many times.  But I am loved by God.  He sees me as worthy despite my sinful nature and lack of faith.  He sent His son Jesus – for me.  I have an advocate when I slip and fall.  I can look the enemy squarely in the face and say, “you thought you had me – you tried to trip me up – destroy my life – and ruin my chances at peace with God – but you did not succeed – so GET LOST!”  I can look at my failures and challenges as a way of giving of myself for others who may be hurting or lost in a failure and challenge of their own.  I can say that I am nothing except for the stubborn love and grace of Jesus.  And if I receive any praise for my accomplishments, attitude or gifts – it is solely because of the one who created me, and works in me.  His love will never leave me alone.

How about you?  What’s your story?

God Bless

New Dream

dreams and wishes. 62/365

Image by nicole.pierce.photography ♥ via Flickr

I looked for someone

like searching in a fog

chasing after

an endless mist

straining for

that unattainable someone

or something

thinking that it would satisfy

what’s deep within

heart-sick and weary

all my efforts

came up empty

and my searching

and reaching

brought no relief

for I found

that in the searching

it was me that I found instead

alone and empty

sad and confused

“Is what I seek

my dream only?

never satisfied

why do

I continue to pursue?

Are my “dreams” just those I make up

bringing emptiness

and endless struggle

instead of fulfillment

and relief?”

And yet I searched for you

my unobtainable someone

and something

that threatened to destroy

and devour me

The one I craved

the things I craved

could be my undoing

and the searching

and dreaming for them

like a slow death

And at the end of the road

I was still there

running on empty

defeated and broken…

It was when I was at my weakest

and tired of running after

and insisting on my own way

that He came

and I heard

a still small voice

and in my confusion

and tears

which caused me to slow down

be still

and listen

that I heard Him

that voice changed me

as He reached in

and held the broken

and confused me

and finally I don’t need to know

all the reasons for before

I reluctantly surrender

and replace

all the running

and searching

for something unknown

instead of something

that does not satisfy

and begin a new path

with His dreams

and plans for me

and at the end of the road

there is no disappointment

and emptiness

or brokenness

and I have almost 

vanished from view

even though

my selfishness and pride

are still there

but they are covered

and kept in check

and it is He that is waiting

giving me

a new dream

which fulfills

and satisfies

instead of

all the things

I wanted

and thought I needed

He is giving me

much more

than I could ever dream

as He replaces my will

with new people

new things

and a new dream

 

What is your dream today?  Have you surrendered yours for His?

 

God Bless

 

 

Damaged Perfection

A few days ago I was commenting on a guest blog article and the guest asked a question:

What is your graffiti tag?

I didn’t have to think about it too long before the words “Damaged Perfection” came out on the comment.  And since he too agreed that it was pretty cool – I decided to write an article about those two words and why they have meaning for me.

I am damaged

Most of us are.  I have failed, missed the mark over and over again, have hurt and disappointed and turned in rebellion to do things my own way.  Because of this it has left me feeling broken, inadequate, hurt and full of regret.

It has caused me to see other “damaged” people in my world around me.  I am ever sensitive to the hurting and broken-hearted around me.  I have noticed how celebrities like Michael Jackson and even recently Lady Gaga can be brilliant in their craft as talented performers but then lead such sad and unfulfilled private lives.  This is why the “high” of the applause only lasts so long and then – comes the painful part of feeling empty as they are left with nothing but themselves.  This is why alcohol and drug abuse is so prevalent – and you have to feel intensely sad for them.  They are damaged.  We all are.  Without Jesus – at the end of the day – they have nothing.  Without Him – neither would I.

I am His Perfection

Created in His image.  The wondrous and flawless work of His hands.  He takes my brokenness and makes something new and beautiful.  He’s the only one who can.  Taking something damaged and discarded – and shaping it into a perfect vessel – again – because He can.  And before I sinned and missed the mark – doing damage to myself and others around me – and was going to be forever separated from His presence – there was a plan in place – a mystery – an intervention on my behalf.  He came to save what was lost – and to redeem me.  He covered my broken, sinful self and restored me  – doing a work deep within me and for me – something I could never earn or be worthy.  He did it because He loves.  We would not have done that – we would have tossed aside, destroyed and started over with another creation – but God does not work that way.  He makes promises that he does not break.  He is a covenant God – working in ways that seem backward to me.  He brings life from death and gives strength to weakness – dignity to failure – and makes a perfect finished product from ruin and despair.  He snatched death from the enemy and freely gives back what should have been taken from me long ago.  He does it – because He is God and I am not.  He sees me in a different way than I see myself.  He sees me as His Perfection.  Worthy of that second chance and more.  Worthy of a life that I do not even think I deserve. 

And so this is a life long journey and process for me – to simply trust and believe that His work in me is enough – even when I don’t feel like it – even when I continually fail.  To walk in this love and grace – making me who I ultimately will be.  The me that He sees.  I am still learning it.  I am still amazed by it.  I am still damaged.  And I am still perfectin His eyes.

I am always and forever

Damaged Perfection

God Bless

Where There Is Faith

I came across this song yesterday when looking through some old “4Him” songs on youtube.  Someone put together a beautiful slide show with this song and I wanted to share it with you.  This song has always moved me – the lyrics are amazing – and I find myself inspired by them.  It is amazing the love of our Lord Jesus – and the faith that it instills in me.

On an interesting side-note:  I learned yesterday that a friend and former co-worker from Renton Christian School, Melodee St. Clair – lost her 24-year-old son a few days ago.  Her daughter, Chelsea is also a former student of mine years ago when she was in junior high.  I had already chosen this song and written a few notes about it.  Even more I am convinced that this song is one of those ‘perfect timing’ moments that is more than coincidence.

There are times in our lives where having simple faith is hard.  It writes well and sounds good – but if we’re honest – faith is sometimes just – faith.  You can’t see it – or touch it – and sometimes you can’t even feel it.  It just simply – is.  The longer I live and see God’s hand on my life and in my shortcomings and circumstances – I am more convinced than ever that this simple faith – is enough.  It is our simple trust and dependence on God – that makes Him smile.  And I know that it is He who sustains me – watches over me and love me unconditionally.  “It is a peace like a child sleeping…”  and much, much more.

I pray you will enjoy the following video as much as I did – and that it will build up  your faith today.

And for Melodee St. Clair, Chelsea and the rest of your family – this is for you.

God Bless

The Devil Made Me Do It

When Bad Things Happen to Good People

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Our pastor had a great message yesterday.  The subject was “Why do bad things happen?” – a very timely topic in light of the recent events in Japan.

As he spoke and listed the possible reasons why things happen – I was reminded of the journey that I have been on – and the many people who I have encountered along the way who have also had bad things happen to them.

Sometimes bad things DO happen to good people.  It’s called LIFE.  We live in a fallen world where things are going to happen.

We ourselves are fallen creatures – capable of making choices that are not always the best.  Many things we do to ourselves – and although the Lord forgives us – people aren’t always so kind – and worse than that – there is the fall-out and carnage from those choices that can follow us for the rest of our lives.

Our choices, therefore – can lead us down a path of unresolved issues, guilt, despair, hurt and frustration, separation from loved ones and good friends.  Or they can lead us to reconciliation, understanding, forgiveness and love.  I want to be in the later group – and I want all those that I have wronged to also be in that group.  Ah – but that is not always possible.  My husband Greg – calls this, “Cindy Land”.

And of course when touching on this subject – my childhood teachings come in to play.  Certain scripture verses come to light when talking about ‘temptation’ – or ‘failing’ or just simply  a ‘mess-up’.   Scriptures that would cite the Devil or at least demonic activity as the culprit for why we mess-up – why we are tempted to do wrong – or get involved with wrong people and wrong choices.  Things like, “The Devil is crouching at the door”  or “The Devil prowls around like a roaring lion seeking whom he may destroy”.   And although I buy into some of that to a certain extent – (I cannot argue with scripture after all) – I also have to accept responsibility for my own choices. I do know people who blame the Devil for everything saying, “The Devil made me do it” – instead of accepting personal responsibility for their own actions.  And almost always, those same people point fingers and blame others – instead of looking inside of themselves and taking the responsibility for themselves.  This makes me sad – because I know they will never heal properly while trying to “run from the devil” or run from those “bad people” who tempt them into doing wrong.  The answer is almost always inside ourselves and  has to do with our own heart.  Can the Devil take advantage of us when we are weak? – Yes.  Does he tempt us?  Yes.  I do believe that.  But he cannot force us to do anything – we are capable of making those bad choices without any help.  The heart of man is deceitfully wicked and prone to wander – without any help at all.  “Resist the Devil and he will flee from you”

I know for myself – that I am almost always aware when I make a choice – good or bad.  There comes a point of ‘no return’ – where I blow past all the red flags – and intentionally do something – because I want to. I can admit that.  I think everyone would be better and healthier if they could just admit it too.

Like my pastor, Stephen – I do not believe that the earthquake and tsunami of Japan and a couple of years ago the earthquake in Haiti – is the result of God’s judgment.

I believe that the world is fallen – it has been fallen since sin entered the garden through Adam and Eve.  And yet despite this fact – I believe that God is good.  He sent His son Jesus to rescue me from myself, to validate and identify with me.  I believe that He loves me.  He came – He got involved.  He forgives and He is with me through bad things that happen to me.  He walks with me and gives me the ability to get through it.  He is very aware that I am fragile and that I blow it.  He is slow to anger and covers me with love and mercy.  And one day – things will be perfect again – when He returns and we see Him as He is.

Until then – we are here – living with fallen people – and in a fallen world.

When you have had something bad happen to you – either by a mistake and wrong choices that you have made – or just because you’re living in a fallen world with fallen people – I believe that you have a choice – just like I do.  A choice to quit and say, “I’m done” – or you can take that bad thing and use it to help other people – becoming a softer and more compassionate person who understands God’s amazing grace.  Someone whom others will come to when in trouble – who need an understanding hug and word of encouragement.

Be that person today.

As we journey together…

God Bless

Here is a little Flip Wilson – enjoy!

I Know Nothing

Cropped image of a Socrates bust for use in ph...

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The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.

Socrates

The longer I live I realize the simple truth.  I know nothing.  Oh I know many things experientially – but those things learned by experience only left me wiser and more sure of myself  I didn’t really gain any knowledge about those things – any more than before I was touched by them.  Therein lies the mystery – how can we experience – and yet still not know?

I find myself surrounded by those who claim to know – go on and on about subjects they have no idea about – any more than I – and I am fascinated by their self-proclaimed ‘knowledge’ – knowing they know nothing either.

And those that have the most to say on subjects they know nothing about – know less than the rest of us.  It’s sad – but true.

So – if this is the case – then why do those same people assign themselves as judge and jury for the rest of us who know nothing?  It is a mystery.  And it is irritating at best.

I would love a place in which people would admit their failures, shortcomings and short-sightedness – be ready to take blame for more than their share – and be ready to offer the same graciousness to those around them.  I would love to live in this place where people could admit – they know nothing.

But you see – it takes a big person to admit, ‘I’m wrong.  I may have misjudged you.  I may have believed something that wasn’t true.  I have made  bad choices too – so I can understand how easy it is to do.  I am not perfect either – so I can understand how you must feel – and it’s okay.  It does not define who you are.  I have NO IDEA how this will work out – but I know someone who does.  His name is Jesus – and He is the only one who KNOWS everything about this and everything else.’  He accepts my lack of knowledge – does not judge me – He accepts me exactly the way that I am. I am changed because of His love and wisdom.  He knows just what to say – and when not to say it.  He knows everything about me – and I am still loved.

What an awesome world this would be if everyone could love like Jesus does.  There would be no pressure to know anything.  We could relax in the fact – that there truly is wisdom in  becoming foolish, weak, and knowing nothing.

I pray for you today – that you will come to that place where you can truly say, ‘I know nothing – therefore I can love you and let God take care of the rest.  I don’t have to educate you, blame you, try to fix you and stand in a position of ultimate authority over you, making myself feel better because I’m right – and you’re…wrong.  It isn’t my job.  We are all sinner’s saved by grace and it is all level at the foot of the cross’    Amen

God Bless

The Timeless Beauty Secret

Broken Heart

Image by Gabriela Camerotti via Flickr

It isn’t really a secret – but for some I think it remains so.

It is the thing that makes women more beautiful as they age – and the thing that makes a man want to be a better man.

It is:

Intangible.

Non-fattening.

Slow to develop.

It can bring you to your knees

And break your heart.

It has the longest memory.

It is intense

But peaceful and fulfilling

It is all-consuming

and intensely self gratifying

It is – love.

Ever notice an attractive and confident woman?  If she is loved and knows that she is – she sparkles and glows from within. There’s nothing more beautiful than a woman in love with a man – and in love with God and the world.

Ever notice an attractive and confident man?  If he is in love and has the love of a special woman – it actually makes him want to be a better man. That love and admiration from the woman he loves and who loves him back actually releases something in him that makes him walk prouder, sit taller, work better, strive farther, dream clearer and live fuller.

Love is the great motivator.  The missing link in many relationships  The most misused and misunderstood emotion in the universe.

What was created and meant for good – got twisted and abused by man.  And in the name of ‘love’ many relationships became weapons of abuse – and a means to manipulate the other.  This was never God’s plan.

The whole Christmas story is based on love.  God’s love. He came – He reached – He got involved – He gave. He showed us what true love is all about.  It is self-sacrificing for another.  It is action without thought of gain.

When we love like God loved us – we lose ourselves – we give ourselves away.  We know the timeless secret of beauty that cannot be bought or sold. It comes from within.

And because you do not have to have the love of a man or a woman to understand this about God’s love – everyone can shine from within and be radiant with love.  You can have that special something that glows on your face – all year-long.  When you give yourself away for another.

I’m praying that this is the best Christmas season ever!  As you live in love – one for another.

God Bless

Mercy

Two candles in love. The flame is inverted hea...

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My heart is stirred today in much emotion – a heavy heart over events and situations that have lately affected my life and made it difficult to press on.  A difficult season of life – with many things out of my control – leaving deep sadness,  remorse – and resignation.

Our pastor, Stephen Collins, spoke on the subject of ‘Mercy’ today.  And although it is a subject that is not new to me – or any people of faith  – I believe  I heard newness in this simple message today – things that I will continue to ponder in the coming weeks.  I found myself very emotional.  This is a subject that is close to my heart and life.  And so with tears streaming down my face – I sat there and took it all in – and allowed the Lord to minister sweet words of comfort and blessing.  I was touched and moved beyond words.

I’ve noticed something about people who are merciful. – they are the first ones to forgive, love, embrace and welcome back,  those who are lost or fallen away.  They have no trouble accepting forgiveness or giving it.  They do not accuse and blame.  They have tender hearts – and they understand the value of mercy – because God has shown mercy to them.  They are also the happiest and most positive people in the world – with many friends.  Their friends trust them – and turn to them when they are in trouble – with no fear of judgment of alienation.  These are people who have been forgiven.

We’ve been watching ‘A Christmas Carol’  – I was noting how Scrooge shows no mercy at the beginning of the story – and then after being shown his life by the ‘spirits’ – he begins to see others and himself in a new light.  The Scrooge story is a story of mercy.  A story of second chances and a new lease on life – a valuable reminder to all of us to remember that when you show mercy to others – others will be merciful.  And it is interesting to note – that the nephew and employee of Scrooge have merciful hearts and embrace him without question – at the beginning of the story – when he is NOT merciful – and later as he is transformed at the end of the story.  No questions – no judgment – no criteria.  Just open arms of love and mercy.

I want to be one that shows mercy – even when I feel as though others have judged me and not understood me – or shown mercy to me.  I want to be the first to say, ‘I understand, I forgive, I love’.  And leave it at that.  No questions asked.  No hesitation.  No disbelief.  Just love and mercy.

Help me Lord to be that kind of person.  Help me to get over myself, my pride, my hurt and pain.  Help me to let go of others that have wronged me – those who have no understanding that their words and actions have wounded me more than they will ever know – and help me to forgive them and show mercy. For I am very aware that if I do not show mercy to others who have failed – or not done what I think they should, then you will not show mercy to me.  Help me to walk with a pure clean heart – free of agenda – free of revenge.  Help me to see others through your eyes.  Amen.

God Bless

What Is Your Slot?

All of us have a place where we just – fit. A lovely little slot where we shine and flourish.

I am happiest when teaching, playing piano, listening to music and when I’m writing.  I love to do a lot of other things too – but this is where I shine and feel happy.

But I am also undisputed in my ‘role’ as the chief cook – Queen of the kitchen.

Greg  has many interests and a couple of businesses which make him very happy – that is where he shines.  But his role in our home is ‘clean-up guy’.  He is very happy to do this.  He is one of those people who is the only one who knows how to load the dishwasher correctly – and does so with a pride and arrogance that is undisputed in our family.  It’s a great set-up – I cook – he cleans.  As long as we keep to that prescribed formula – things are great.

Once in a while it is necessary for me to step in and clean the kitchen and *gasp* LOAD THE DISHWASHER.  It’s never pretty – because I have no love for loading dishes – and Greg can tell.  He sighs and pats me on the head – like he would a small child – and is very patient and gracious with my feeble and uncaring attempts at order and precision under his tutelage.  I am somewhat of a lost cause.

And once in a while it becomes necessary, with my teaching schedule for Greg to step in and begin dinner preparations.  He doesn’t like this especially when I have not thought ahead and just say something like, ‘Greg could you start on dinner?”  It freaks him out.  He has NO IDEA how to just ‘start’ dinner.

Case and point – the other day I was busy teaching and in a small break I asked him if he could ‘start dinner’.  I laid the items out on the counter and told him quickly what to do.  I was assuming he would get it – forgetting that he is not comfortable in the kitchen unless he is making breakfast items – or following along (precisely) from a cookbook.  So I left him in the kitchen – very much in distress – and very much to his own devices.  Very scary.

I went back to teaching.  When the last student had gone – I went into the kitchen hoping that dinner was ready.  Greg seemed pleased with himself.  I looked around and spotted a half-opened jar of marinara sauce on the counter.  Hmmm.   I did not see any container or pan with sauce in it.  The trout was simmering in a pan on the stove – the butternut squash was in the microwave – just as I had directed.  Where is the sauce? –  I wondered.

I peaked in the microwave and under the paper towel.  And what to my horrified eyes should appear – but butternut squash with marinara sauce on top – bubbling away!  I was horrified – and couldn’t imagine what ever could  have possessed him to think that I wanted him to cook it that way!  He saw my horror – and began to quickly explain, ‘You said you wanted squash with marinara sauce’ – as if that settled the question – and would assure me that he had done everything just as he was directed to do.  I took out the raw squash with the very hot and bubbly sauce out of the microwave and proceeded to spoon the sauce into a bowl while explaining, ‘Greg, what I meant was that the squash would be served with marinera sauce.  Squash takes a long time to cook so you can’t have sauce on it – when cooking it’.

I realized something.  Men and women don’t think the same way – even about food.  You can’t assume.  My husband needs very clear directions.

Butternut Squash with Marinara Sauce

Squash with Marinara Sauce via Flickr

Very clear.  A woman would have understood that I wanted the sauce on the side and heated up separately – but not a man.  I should have said, ‘We are going to have squash served with marinara sauce for dinner.  This is how to cook the squash – slice in half, put a little butter and salt and pepper – cover with a paper towel and cook for 15 minutes on high in microwave. – pour the sauce in a pan – put a lid on it and cook on low heat’  Next time I will be more clear.

He was very happy to let me take over – and was happy to clean the kitchen.  He feels very much at home doing it – it is a good fit. And all is well that ends well – the dinner was a wonderful success – fresh trout – butternut squash with sauce – on the side. It was very funny – and he was such a good sport about it 🙂

The Bottom Line is this:  We all have areas where we shine – tasks are easy, almost effortless!  Those we do with joy because we love them.  And then there are those that do not seem to fit us.  We struggle.  We get it wrong.  There is no love.  It is in these times that we need to have grace and patience for others and understand that we cannot – nor should we be good at everything.

What is your slot?  Where do you shine?  Or not shine?  Have you figured it out?  Are others patient with you?  Are you gracious to them?

Here’s hoping that you will find it – as you slosh your way into what is the best fit for you – and as you discover how to fit in your slot.

God Bless

Doing The Right Thing

Study of a girl with ringlets teaching her dog...

Image by State Library of New South Wales collection via Flickr

Doing the right thing – does not necessarily mean that it will always be the popular choice. Or does it mean that others in your life will agree with you.

Several years ago I had a situation which challenged my personal convictions and integrity.  I had a problem with a student at the private school where I was teaching.  She was belligerent to my authority and although all of the teachers in the class treated her with respect – but were firm on expectations – she did not reciprocate the respect.  I called her out on it – in a private way, telling her it was not appropriate behavior in the classroom.  Instead of responding correctly – she went home ‘telling tales’ how this mean music teacher had it in for her.

What came next was a most distressing email written to me from her mother.  I was painted as the villain – and she the victim. I reported the email to my boss – the administrator of the school where I was teaching.  His advice was to not do anything – be silent and NOT answer back at all.  And that he would handle it.

What came next was much soul-searching – as I tried to come to grips with the accusations in the letter against my character and integrity as a teacher.  I wrestled with it for a couple of days.  I remember well – my son was in a baseball tournament out-of-town that weekend – and I would sit in the car until the game started, praying and trying to figure out what to do.

In the end, I DID write back – and realized I was going in direct contrast and against the ‘authority’ set in place over me regarding this matter.  I examined the consequences of such an action – talked it over with my husband and good friend/team teacher also in the classroom – and decided to answer the accusations myself rather than just be ‘silent’.  To me this seemed the best course of action – as it directly affected me and my reputation as a teacher. I did not want a third-party interference in the matter.  Those never work.  And in fact, from personal experience I can say this:  They do much more harm than good. So with this in mind – I wrote a reply.

I was kind – but I was firm.  I told the other side of the story, the belligerence and the struggle that this girl had with authority in the classroom.  It was detailed and cited many examples which could be verified by the other teachers and students.

I sent it.  And I waited.  I knew that there could be two very different outcomes to my ’email’ – and knew I could really take a serious reprimand for my actions.  Two days later I received another email from the mother.  This one was very different from the first.  She was apologetic and felt very badly for saying the things she had said without checking the facts.  When she confronted her daughter with my letter – the girl broke down and admitted the lies she had told.  Had I not written the letter – the meeting to be held later that week between the father and the administrator of the school would have been very heated.  He would not have had all the facts.  My reply completely diffused the anger that they had and my email conveyed the situation and set the record straight.  Long story short:  we ended up being friends.  That in itself was a miracle.  And this would not have happened if I had allowed others to speak for me.  My silence could have been seen as guilt.

Why do I tell you this story?  Because there have been more of these ‘situations’ in my life before and since then.  Some have had a great outcome like this one – others have not.  It is ALWAYS better to work things out with the other person alone – than to involve a third person in the equation – and allow them to speak for you.

Sometimes you have to step out and do what is right – even in the midst of people telling you not to.  Even people who are in authority over you.  Even when you trust them and believe them.  Am I saying to go against authority?  If it doesn’t line up with what is right – then yes.  Even if you are told that it is right but you still have a nagging feeling that something isn’t right about what they are telling you.  And sometimes you must act according to your own personal convictions – even risking a ‘falling out’ with someone important to you – like a good friend or a family member.

In the final analysis – God is the only one you have to report to on anything. And at the end of the day – He goes much easier on us than most people do – even those people in positions of authority.  His grace and mercy are new every morning.  He loves and forgives in a way that human beings are not capable of doing.  He doesn’t hold a grudge – nor does He remember our sins anymore to use against us.  He is not sensitive – and you cannot hurt His feelings – in the same way you can hurt another human being.   He has no ‘agenda’ for you in the same way that others may have for you.  He does not have any pride on the line and does not insist on His way.  You need only seek His council to determine what the right thing is.  God ALWAYS wants relationships to be healed – He is a God of resolution, restoration and of healing.  If what you are being told does not lead in this direction – it is not from God.

I have learned this the hard way – and I’m still waiting for others in my life to get it too.

When our life is over – we will have to stand before God.  We will have no one to hide behind – no one to ‘cover us’ except Jesus.  And I believe when everything is stripped bare from our lives – God will allow us to see our lives and those ‘key moments’ in them – pointing to the obvious times where we had a choice to do the right thing.  No excuses.  No hiding.  No blaming.  It will come down to just us and God.  And when I stand before Him and He asks these questions:  ‘Did you do everything in your power to restore lost people to Christ?  Did you do everything in your power to restore those that had something against you?  Did you love them like I love them?’  I want to be able to answer – ‘Yes’ to all three.

I want to be found with an open heart.  One that followed my personal convictions – sometimes risking popularity and personal regard from key people in my life – to follow what was the right thing to do.  I want Him to find me with no regrets, no secrets, no agenda – for it will all be revealed in that moment.  Whether I did what was right – or whether I settled for the easier road.

I want to encourage you today.  Are you looking for ways to restore relationships in your life?  If you are – then your heart is following after the very heart of God.  Follow your convictions. Don’t allow others to tell you what they are. Don’t allow others – even well-meaning influences in your life – to tell you what is right for you.  Maybe you need to speak up.  Maybe you need to be silent.  Whatever it is – do the right thing.  Do it today.

God Bless

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