(in)couraged to hope – unglued #5

I strongly believe God brings hope to hopeless situations and Lysa is proving it to be true with each word I read in her latest book, Unglued.

I’m so thankful Jacque and I are leading this journey of (in)couraged to Hope and pray God is meeting over 80 women in our “messes” as we read through the truths Lysa is sharing.

I don’t know about you, but I love me a step-by-step instruction guide! I think Lysa must’ve known most of us would need some clear cut guidance along our journey!

My biggest take-away from this past week is this “short version” Lysa’s put together. She calls it her “predetermined biblical procedure manual,” and it’s a tool I plan to use over and over again!

  1. Alarmed, Lysa resolved to remember who she is.
  2. Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.
  3. Stay in the flow – my job is obedience, God’s job is results.
  4. Shift from an attitude to gratitude.
  5. Reactions determine my reach.

I’m looking forward to connecting and hearing what your favorite take-aways were this week!

Join me today over at Jacque’s today, as we dive into the next chapter in Lysa’s book Unglued.


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how do we know we’ve forgiven?

When God forgives, there is an immediate and
complete change in relationship.
Instead of hostility, there is love and acceptance.
Instead of enmity, there is friendship.
~ Billy Graham

In the deepest depths of our heart and soul, can we say we’ve truly forgiven someone?

A quick check might be to ask ourselves, “What does Jesus see?”

When my girls have misbehaved and try to cover it up with a lie, I ask them one simple question, not in judgment or condemnation—they don’t even need to give me an answer. The question is this, “What did Jesus see?” The fact is, it doesn’t matter if I know the truth or not, what’s important is they keep their hearts pure before the Lord.

Only God knows our hearts.

If Jesus were to look into our hearts, would He see true forgiveness?

Granted, forgiveness doesn’t always happen overnight. In most situations, forgiveness comes in stages and there’s nothing wrong with that. God knows our hearts and our heart-motives. So then, how do we know when we’ve truly forgiven?

Following are a few things to keep in mind:

  • When we can wholly give the situation over to God.
    Because let’s face it, sometimes we want to hold onto it and play it over and over in our minds. We want to talk about it, justify ourselves, and prove our point.
  • When we can follow the command found in Matthew 5:44, “But I say to you, love your enemies. Pray for those who hurt you.”
    Personally, I’ve been guilty of this. When an offense has happened to me, I don’t always immediately want to pray blessings over them and love them. But I know true forgiveness has come when the prayers finally come.
  • We stop thinking about it. We forget the crime.
    All I have to say is—thank goodness God doesn’t remember our transgressions. If He brought to mind every sin in my life over and over again . . . well let’s just say it would be a sorry life to live.
  • Spiritually, an unexplainable peace finds its way into our hearts and minds.
  • Physically, it feels as though a burden has been lifted.
    I have multiple sclerosis and when I’m under the stress of a situation needing me to look through the eyes of grace, my symptoms start to flare. The worry and stress cause a physical reaction in my body. When I’ve truly forgiven, I feel a literal physical change in my body.
  • Finally, I believe true forgiveness has come when we see the offender and can wish him/her well.

Father, I thank You—from the depths of my soul I thank You—for putting this series topic on my heart to write and share with others. Thank you for your great Word and lessons. Thank you for your sacrifice. Thank you for being the perfect model of forgiveness. Thank you for the work you’ve done in our lives through this series.

Father, I pray lives are changed. I’m praying for a break-through for everyone who reads these words. I pray Lord we trust you with our everything and know You’ll be faithful, loving, and just.

In Your mighty name I pray,
Amen

####

Friends, I thank you for following along on this journey with me. I can’t believe it’s already come to an end. If there’s one thing I could encourage you with? If you’ve read this series over the last 31 days … I urge you not to get stuck on one particular day. I believe all 31 days are intertwined in your process. I hope you’ll pray over them, asking God to work and apply specific inspirations to your specific situations.

I’ll be taking a little break over the next few days, but hope to be back next week with a few resources/videos I’ve found on forgiveness.

If you’d like to keep up with 31 Days of Forgiveness, you can
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{read 31 days of forgiveness from the beginning}

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forgiveness is an act of faith

To be able to look into God’s face, and know with the knowledge
of faith that there is nothing between the soul and Him,
is to experience the fullest peace the soul can know.
Whatever else pardon may be, it is above all things admission
into full fellowship with God.
~ Charles H. Brent

Forgiveness is an act of faith, trusting God will bring freedom and allow healing, both in our lives and in the lives of others.

Forgiveness is an act of faith, believing God has commanded us to forgive.

Forgiveness is an act of faith, trusting God will work in our situations.

Forgiveness is an act of faith, allowing us to release our holds on each situation knowing God has greater plans.

Forgiveness is an act of faith, knowing God will handle any justice, mercy, or grace that needs to take place.

Forgiveness is an act of faith, trusting God will give us the power to forgive.

Forgiveness is an act of faith, trusting God will replace unforgiveness with peace.

Forgiveness is an act of faith, believing Jesus was sacrificed for our sins so we could live forgiven.

Forgiveness is an act of faith, when we choose to love instead of hate.

Forgiveness is an act of faith, when we pray blessings over those who persecute us.

Forgiveness is an act of faith, trusting redemption is probable.

Forgiveness is an act of faith, believing we’ll hold no record of wrongdoings.

Forgiveness is an act of faith, realizing it’s a gift money can’t buy.

Forgiveness is an act of faith, forgiving seven times seventy.

Forgiveness is an act of faith, knowing there’s no other option.

Forgiveness is an act of faith, believing in God’s unconditional, unending, and unfathomable love for us.

Forgiveness is an act of faith, believing forgiveness will bring us into full fellowship with God.

If you’d like to keep up with 31 Days of Forgiveness, you can
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{read 31 days of forgiveness from the beginning}

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(in)couraged to hope – unglued #4

It’s week four of our Unglued study and I need to be perfectly honest with you … I’ve gone done and become unglued!

Most definitely when:

  • My Piper could only find ONE shoe and we were already late for school.
  • My eight year old fell down the stairs and split the back of her head open, requiring five staples … 45 minutes before a fundraiser I was hosting in my home.
  • My teen forgot her school project in her car {parked 1.5 miles from school … don’t ask} and asked me to bring it to her.

and in the middle of this writing deadline:

  • Two people show up at the door asking for donations. {the good news is, I was able to invite them in, give them some dinner, a copy of Jesus Calling, my 31 Days of Faith e-book, a draft of my newest e-book 31 Days of Forgiveness … and a donation. Oh! and a ride to their car a couple of miles away}

and when I get home it’s my girl’s bedtime and:

  • The ten year old’s toilet is clogged {grossly clogged!}. And the kitchen seemed to have exploded. And the dog needed to be let out. And kidlets need to get to bed. And doesn’t anybody know I’ve got a writing deadline?!

I could go on, but I’m certain you get the idea! :)

All that “ungluing” isn’t even my point. My point is … life happens. Intentions fail. We get behind.

And that’s where I am. I’m behind in my reading of this Unglued study. And I want to label myself with all the ugly things the enemy is whispering to me. But as I open Lysa’s book, and as I look at our Facebook page, I’m reminded of the encouragement found in imperfect progress wrapped beautifully in grace.

So that’s me. I wonder if any of you can relate? I would so love, even if we’re behind, if we could still encourage each other to push on to push through. Chances are, many of us are feeling very attacked right now. The enemy would love nothing more than to keep us from pushing through our labels and self-doubt. I wonder … as we head into week four, could we commit to helping one another continue on this journey?

Here’s what I’m looking forward to in week four. First of all the title has me a little giddy, “A Procedure Manual for the Unglued.” Who doesn’t love a procedure manual?!

Instead of avoiding the reality that I come unglued, I’m tackling it head-on. I want to give myself every fighting chance to make wise choices in the midst of raw emotions. And having a predetermined plan is a good thing to create and implement. Care to join me? Not that your plan will look the same as mine. Feel free to take this idea and make it your own. The best kind of plan for you is the one you’ll follow. ~ Unglued, page 117

What do you think? Care to push forward with me this week? I believe God’s got something great planned for us on the other side!

If you’ve written a post on your imperfect progress, we invite you to link up below. If not, no problem! Jacque and I would still love to hear from you! If you have a moment, leave a note on where you’re at and what you’ve learned so far?


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the prodigal son {part 3}

Now this shows how we tend to make the worst of everything
and to paint the picture in the darkest colors, which is not doing
as we would have others do to us, nor as our heavenly Father does to us.
~ Matthew Henry

The prodigal son experienced true humility that led him back home and his father extended true forgiveness, but the story doesn’t end “happily ever after” at that point.

Instead we have the elder brother. The good son. The one who Matthew Henry says, “represents those who are really good and never went astray, who—by comparison—need no repentance.”

The elder son was out in the field when his father and brother reconciled. Luke 15:25 says, “. . . when he came near the house, he heard music and dancing.” And he became angry and refused to go in {verse 28}.

“This shows us a common fault,” Henry notes. And he has these two important points:

  1. In people’s families. Those who have always been a comfort to their parents think they should have a monopoly of their parents’ favors, and they tend to be too sharp toward those who have disobeyed.
  2. In God’s family. Those who are comparatively innocent seldom know how to be compassionate toward those who are clearly penitents.

We read in Luke that the father went out to him and “pleaded with him.” But he answered his father, “Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders.”

According to Henry, “It is too common for those who are better than their neighbors to boast about it.” He goes on to say, “Those who have served God for a long time and have been kept from gross sins have a great deal to be humbly thankful for, but nothing to proudly boast about . . . Some good people tend to be caught up in this fault; they look down on those who have not kept their reputation as clean as they have, even when those who have soiled themselves in this way have given good evidence of their repentance and reformation . . . We have too high an opinion of ourselves if we cannot find it in our hearts to receive those whom God has received.”

Henry continues, “If we are true believers, all that God is and all that he has are ours, and if others come to be true believers, all that he is and all that he has are theirs too, and yet we have no less.”

The parable in Luke ends with the father assuring his oldest son, “You are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.”

Oh how I wish there were more to the story!! I want to know if the oldest son embraced his brother. If his heart softened. If they had a “happily ever after!”

Know what? I have to believe that’s exactly what happened. It may be no use to speculate, but it makes my heart happy to think they did get their happily ever after.

When those brothers saw each other the first time, I can’t help but think the youngest brother, full of remorse, newly redeemed, and humbled to the bone, made a huge impact on his older brother.

And with a father who, by the way, should win Parent of the Year—gently, lovingly, and humbly came alongside the oldest boy to speak truth into him. He didn’t shame that boy, or pull the “parent” because-I-said-so card. Instead he gently shined truth into the situation.

I’ve heard this parable countless times throughout my life, but the study, research, and revelation I’ve just experienced will stay with me a lifetime.

These three men have taught me so many lessons. Who I mirror, who I’ve been, and who I want to be.

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