When I was a child, my church would sing J.W. Vaughan’s, “If I Could Hear My Mother Pray Again” every Mother’s Day. It seemed to make many of the older members sad but I didn’t really understand…I was just a kid, I could hear my mom pray whenever, more than likely I was sitting right next to her as we sang! I lost my mom four years ago, April 25,2014…now I get it…I understand.
Ok, so maybe I was late to the game or sitting in the dark but who out there chooses a word for the year?! I had never heard of doing that until this year. I have been blessed with a group of ladies that I’m able to meet with weekly (and if you’ve read any of my other posts you know that they were instrumental in pulling me back to God!!) …well through them I was introduced to the concept of a word for the year. Honestly it was slightly confusing and stressful to me at first! lol I wasn’t walking with God when we had to share our word one Friday as we met for coffee and encouragement. I had “researched” the best way to choose a word or the top words picked each year (apparently this is something people have done for years!! Where was I??!!), but the ladies wanted us to pray and seek God’s leading for our choice. Well, at that time (end of Dec) I wasn’t praying or seeking God and I didn’t really care to! Somehow I landed on the word LISTEN. It’s actually ironic seeing as how I’m deaf (legally, over 50% loss in each ear since birth)…but God knew what I needed. Even though I think I picked that word to poke fun at my hearing loss, God knew I needed to listen to Him and the godly influences He had placed in my life. Since then everything is different (read my post “Who Am I” for more details on that) and my word touches me daily! So, anytime you read my posts and you see the word listen typed in all caps, that’s why! It’s a reminder for myself.
Proverbs 1:5 “Let the wise hear and increase in learning, and the one who understands obtain guidance.”
Proverbs 19:20 “Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future.”
Anakainosis is a change of heart and life…a heart softened by God’s truth and a life transformed by the application of God’s truth. This is what I want for my life and for you…and it only happens if we LISTEN!! Who or what are you listening to?!
Word of God Speak by Mercy Me
So…what’s your word??
Sin. Such a small word. It doesn’t look evil or intimidating, yet it holds the power to destroy marriages, families, even lives! But what is sin? The dictionary defines it as an immoral act considered to be a transgression against Divine law. In other words, sin is missing the mark of how God would have us live our lives.
But, wait!! We can’t talk about this!! Sin is well, sinful! We are just supposed to talk about righteousness and holiness…none of the “bad” stuff because it doesn’t make us feel good. In her book, The Mended Heart, Suzanne Eller says, “Sin is a topic we tend to shy away from, especially when it’s our own. If someone else brings it up, we wonder if they are judging, or trying to fix us or shame us. But what if we could just be honest about it? What if we could be real about the deep roots of pain and regret that sin embeds in our hearts, and about how sin affects us and those we love?” So can I be honest? Can I be real with you, dear reader?? My goal is not to judge or shame anyone, rather to bring to light what so often gets tucked into the darkness in our lives. I lived for so long, suffering in silence, hiding away my sins, all the while feeling deep shame and embarrassment…NO MORE!
So, I’m becoming a huge fan of the name it and claim it approach to sin. I’m not talking about the school of thought that teaches that we can lay claim to anything we want in life, no I am instead referring to naming sin sin and claiming it for what it is. I mean recognizing sin in our lives, confessing it and refusing to hide it away like the dark secret so many Christians act like it is. Why is that? Why do we feel like we can’t admit we are anything other than perfect? I’ll let you in on a little secret…no one is perfect!! Did you catch that?! NO ONE!! Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God;” All means all…every man, woman and child that has ever lived or ever will live has fallen short of God’s plan.
“What if we could just be honest about it? What if we could be real about the deep roots of pain and regret that sin embeds in our hearts, and about how sin affects us and those we love?” -Suzanne Eller
Jesus is the only perfect, sinless person that has ever or will ever be! Jesus called sin out where it lived and He was criticized for it…for His willingness to meet sin in battle…to get right in with people and bring the things hidden in the dark into the light. Do you know what He said to those who criticized? “When Jesus heard this, he said, ‘Healthy people don’t need a doctor-sick people do.’ Then he added, ‘Now go and learn the meaning of this Scripture: ‘I want you to show mercy, not offer sacrifices.’ For I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.'” (Matt. 9:12-13) So what does that look like? How do we show mercy when dealing with sin? I think the first thing we do, the first thing I have to do, is stop placing levels on sin!! Stop falling for the some sins are “better” than others or what someone else is doing is so much worse than what I am doing mentality. That’s simply not true and it’s not Biblical in the least. Sin is sin is sin is sin is…I hope you get the point! Robert Noland, author of Do You Believe?, states in his devotional that, “Because God is holy, he has one standard, one plumb line, drawn across mankind. One sin+one time=death. That is exactly where the old adage originates, ‘The ground is level at the foot of the cross.’ No “levels” of sin exist with God. Someone can’t be “better” than someone else when all have fallen and failed. Holiness can’t allow for any sin-neither doing the wrong thing or omitting the right thing.”
Where I Come From
“I was just a child, when I felt the Savior leading
I was drawn to what I could not understand.
And for the cause of Christ, I have spent my days believing
That what He’d have me be, is who I am.”
The opening lines from Greg Long’s, “Mercy Said No”, could pretty much be used to sum up my childhood. I was raised in the church..in fact, I can’t remember not being in church. We were definitely a “there everytime the doors are open” kind of family. I realized that I needed Jesus and His forgiveness when I was nine years old. I can still remember the day, the details, the feeling of awe as I prayed for Jesus to forgive me of my sins and to be Lord of my life. I have no doubt that I was forgiven that day. Had I died at any point after that night, June 9,1987, I know that I would’ve found myself in heaven with my next breath. But is that enough? To just….
…know we are going to heaven?
…live our life anyway we choose?
…know we have “fire insurance” and are safe from hell?