Arrgh!!

I’m experiencing the difficulty of loving someone who wronged me.

Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy.  But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. 1

 

The Holy Spirit convicted me when I realized this person couldn’t wrong me unless the authority was given from heaven.2  I can see that God has prevented me from receiving the object of desire because of my wrong focus.  I thank Him but I’m still struggling.  I wasn’t deceptive with this person and he wronged me yet I can see that God has intervened to discipline me – that is if I’m willing to forgive and accept the truth.  Still, I’m stuck on the object of desire which is the cause of my deception.  I struggle some more while trying to read Hebrews. I can’t concentrate because I’m drawn back to what happened.  I choose to forgive.  I continue to read…

And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons?  My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him.  For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.”  It is for discipline that you have to endure.  God is treating you as sons.  For what son is there whom his father does not discipline?  If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons.  Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them.  Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live?  For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness.  For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.3

 

Discipline is for my good so that I can share in God’s holiness producing a harvest of righteousness and peace if I am trained by it!  Wow, this is far greater that the object of desire that will rust and fade away. I think I’ve found a pearl and I’m ready to sell my right to justice and forgive instead of storing up bitterness.

But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.4

 

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.5

 

My Prayer:  Forgive me, God, for setting up an idol and acting deceptively.  Thank you for preventing me from receiving it because of my wrong focus.  I forgive the man who wronged me.  I recognize You worked out the details for my good.  I humble myself before You.  I receive Your blessing of discipline. Thank You for Your love.  Thank You for correcting and expanding my focus.  Amen

10.03.11

sine cera

”The phrase, sine cera is Latin for “without wax.”  The story goes that dishonest or untalented sculptors in ancient Rome or Greece covered flaws in marble and pottery with wax.  To demonstrate a quality product, honest sculptors labeled their creations “sine cera” —indicating a piece with flaws left uncovered.  As the story goes, the term, sine cera, became synonymous with such honest presentation, that it eventually became the root of the word “sincere.”

I see in the apostle Paul’s life and his statement of being the greatest sinner an example of what sine cera might be.6 He embraced his weakness because he knew in weakness Christ was strong.2  No need for wax to pretty things up.

I believe that all glory belongs to God.  I desire that people know me in truth so they will not mis-credit the works of God to me: “It must be God because I know it can’t be Dale”.  I want my life to be a testament of His love, His faithfulness, His power, His mercy, His grace with all that He is eclipsing my weakness and failure.  God increasing while I decrease.3

I have lived a life walking the fence.  I’m not proud of who I’ve become.  I’ve squashed others to make myself look good.  I’ve pursued the wicked desires of my heart.  I’ve exalted myself, taken the throne and found death.  I desire to dethrone myself and put God in His rightful place.  I’m tired of enthroning the enemy by agreeing with him.  I want life and I want it abundantly.4

I desire for God’s mercy, His grace, and His love to flow through me.  I desire for His blessings to follow me all the days of my life.5  I imagine a wake of blessings following me like the wake widens behind a boat, reaching to distant shores.

I choose, with the help of the Holy Spirit, to call sin as it is; confessing my weakness in agreement with God.  I want to receive His mercy, partake of His grace and be forever changed by His unfailing love.  I want to know God, His love and His faithfulness so well that I laugh when the enemy opens his mouth.

I believe the better I know God the more transparent satan’s lies will become.  I know that temptation will loose all appeal.  Oh, that temptation would simply be a reminder of God’s wondrous love.

Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.6

 

I want to love God with all of my heart, all of my soul, and all of my strength.  I don’t know how to accomplish this.  All of my ways take me in the opposite direction.7  I am thankful to Jesus for His obedience to God the Father, His sacrifice on the cross and for sending the Holy Spirit so that I may live the resurrected life that He sacrificed for.  I trust that God will reveal how to love Him through His word, through the example of His Son Jesus and through His Holy Spirit.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.8

 

I am beginning to see the fruit of the work He is doing in my life.  My faith is growing because of His faithfulness.  The evidence is like a goad prompting me to yield more and push into God, going hard for Him.  There is an excitement growing within me, an unquenchable desire for more.  I long for His presence and to hear His voice.  The word has taken on a new dimension and I find it hard to put it down.  There is a hunger and thirst for righteousness expanding within me.

As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God.9

 

I desire to become all that God created me to be.  I know God has provided all that I need to accomplish the work he created me for.  I long to hear Him say, “Well done good and faithful servant”.10

The Holy Spirit is teaching me how to run the race and secure the prize.11  I am guarding my heart and storing rare and beautiful treasures within.12  13  I desire that the words of my mouth and the overflow of my heart will be pleasing to God.

A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things.14

 

I am lost without God.  I know that I can accomplish nothing without Him.  He is changing the desires of my heart to align with His.  He is preparing me to receive His goodness and eternal promises.

I declare Jesus Christ as Lord, King of Kings.  I willingly bow before Him.

12.10.11

Reset Button

Image by Frits Ahlefeldt

This morning started out with the Lord tugging on my heart to spend some time with Him.  I didn’t.  I’m struggling with the fact the maker of heaven and earth is inviting me to spend time with Him and I continue to prefer a warm comfortable bed.  I am living proof that the sluggard turns on his bed like a door on its hinges.15  I don’t want to be this way, however there is a reality I must face that says comfort has become my idol.  What if I was one of the three that were faced with bowing down to an idol or be thrown into the fiery furnace – would I choose to honor the Creator of heaven and earth?2  The evidence doesn’t look good.

There are occasions when it is most difficult to be around my wife; this morning was one of those times.  It was like being around an angry bear and everything seemed to escalate the situation.  I tried to play dead.  Even when your playing dead sometimes the bear comes over and mauls you to see if there is any life.  Was she saying, “love me, I’m hurting” or was she just trying to make my life miserable because she was miserable?  In the moment, I concluded the later although now that I’ve had time to think about it I think she needed to be loved.

When I began to reflect on how the morning started I thought it would have been nice if my wife had a reset button.  The kids and I would have re-booted her several times, if we could have gotten close enough; it can be a dangerous proposition to get that close to an angry bear.  I thought about how she probably needed some love and then I heard my daughter say, “you need a hug” and gave the angry bear a hug.  I was stunned!  I actually thought, I couldn’t do that, right? I mean, how do you hug a cactus?

Because of the way I handled the situation the Lord stopped me and met me with a gift.  He is faithful and His promises endure forever.  He confirmed His love for me through his word.  You know how the bible says at what ever point you judge someone you do the very same thing…  He brought conviction!  I humbled myself in agreement with Him.  I was the one who needed the reset button!  I was the cactus!

You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.  Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth.  So when you, a mere man, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment?  Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you towards repentance?  But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed.3

 

Revelation:  This was a divine opportunity to love my wife; to love her like Christ loved the church!  I denied her…. I denied Him.  Like Peter, I said, “I don’t know him”.4  What you say?  This isn’t a stretch, didn’t Jesus himself say, “What ever you do to the least, you do unto me”?5 I had judged my wife as the least, I pretended not to know her, I played dead in her time of need.

Reflection:  Where did I go wrong?  What if I had responded to the invitation to meet with the maker of heaven and earth in the early morning?  Would the uncomfortableness of leaving my bed out weighed the uncomfortableness of the morning as it unfolded?  Did God in His infinite wisdom know that I needed to prepare for what was about to unfold?  Did God have my best interest at heart when He extended the invitation to meet with Him?  Was His early morning timing perfect?  Does He know how much sleep I need?

I answered no to those questions (except maybe the last one) because I was looking to an idol to meet my needs and I reaped the blessings of the idol.  The blessings of idols are curses that prevent me from receiving the goodness of the Lord.  I have been hording God’s mercy and His grace.  I had a limited supply of something that is unlimited because I had cut myself off from God, the source, through Judgments.  Until I release those I hold in Judgment there is no mercy and grace for me.  I am bound in unforgiveness awaiting judgment.

My Prayer:  God, I forgive my wife and release her from all judgments, please forgive me. Forgive me for hording your mercy and grace. Forgive me for not loving my wife like Christ loves the church. Please extend your mercy and grace that I may extend it to my wife and love like you do: unconditionally. Thank you for convicting me. Thank you for loving me.

09.10.11