March 6, 2017

Walking Step by Step in the Light, Part 2

Welcome back for part two of Walking Step by Step in the Light.

Before I jump into our lesson, I’d like to celebrate with YOU, my dearest ministry friends, my new book that will come out in early 2018. This book shares the beautiful lessons and stories the Lord taught me as I walked through the pages of 1 John. Last week and this week’s messages are a preview of what’s tucked inside this study. If you missed last week, click here to read it. I will share more about my new study in the months to come with fun giveways and ways to participate in helping me get the word out. 

Let’s get back to our message about living in the light.

Last week we received the great news that we aren’t perfect. Best news ever, right! However, that’s not an excuse to keep sinning. We talked about how important it is to recognize and agree with God about our sin because that ensures our sin doesn’t stay hidden in the dark.

What’s the best way to do that? As I struggled with my tongue a few years back, God took me through a process. He gave me a script to follow when I find myself struggling with a sin. But following this process is an intentional choice. We must choose to:

Interrupt our thoughts

Sin begins in our thoughts. Our thoughts lead us down the path of disobedience. And it’s our disobedience that interrupts our fellowship with God. So, learning to recognize and interrupt our sinful thoughts before they lead us to action is the key to uninterrupted fellowship with God.

The best way to counter our sinful thoughts is by drawing close to God. Praying and spending time in His Word sensitizes our hearts to the leading of His Holy Spirit. Something deep within our soul discerns that we are walking outside His Will and grieving His heart.

Confess our sin

How will we respond to what we feel from the Lord? We’ll either feel convicted or condemned. And which one we feel will depend on how we view God. If we know God as a loving God who desires to redeem and restore us, that feeling will convict our hearts. We will respond in trust and obedience. But if we know God as a harsh judge who seeks to punish and shame us, that feeling will condemn our hearts. We will feel shame and guilt and run from God.

If you get nothing else from our time together today, please understand the distinction between conviction and condemnation.

Conviction is from the Holy Spirit. It’s from the heart of our Creator, our loving Father. It is good because He is good. He is safe. He is trustworthy. He uses conviction to intervene in our mess and draw us back into the light and into perfect fellowship with Him.

Condemnation is from Satan, our enemy. It is not good because he is not good. He is not safe. He is a liar and the father of lies. In him, there is no truth at all. Satan uses condemnation to intervene in our mess and move us further from our Father’s heart and deeper into darkness.

God never condemns. Romans 8:1 says, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”

So beware of  the evil one’s lies. Replace them with truth from the One who created and formed you and deeply loves you. Ask forgiveness from the One who is waiting to draw you back to Him.

Turn around and step back into the light

Make intentional choices to keep from repeating the same sin.

It might be memorizing a truth you can speak or pray when that temptation to gossip, criticize, or control comes your way.

It might be resolving in your heart not to yield to what tempts you and inviting a friend to pray for and with you and hold you accountable.

It might be changing friends.

Sometimes there will be a cost. But it will be so worth it, my friend.

Remember, we don’t fight this battle alone. God equips and empowers us with spiritual discernment to alert us to the people and situations that seek to lead us into sin and darkness. His Spirit provides us with the strength and courage to resist that temptation and stand on the Truth.

Walking in fellowship with Christ, day-by-day, step-by-step, ensures who we say we are, matches who we really are.

We are blood bought baby girls of the One True God. We are daughters of the Holy One of Israel. We are loved. Chosen. Redeemed. Beautiful in His sight. Created with purpose.

Don’t let the devil interrupt your fellowship with God or mar the beautiful woman God has created you to be!

I would love to hear from you today. Share one step you need to take today to walk in the light.

Blessings,

February 27, 2017

Walk Step by Step in the Light, Part 1 (Winner announced)

It’s hard to come face to face with our sin. The sin that comes because of our fallen nature (because of what happened in the Garden when Eve ate the fruit). It’s especially hard with those sins we commit over and over again. We speak a harsh word. We engage in gossip. We lose our temper. We succumb to fear instead of trusting God. Each time, we tell God we’re sorry and promise we will do better next time.

And we don’t.

It’s a vicious cycle.

On the other side, God’s Word calls us to live in the light.

What does that mean? It requires that our hearts, our actions our words, our thoughts, our values, and even our schedules align with His heart and His character, not with our sinful nature and fallen character.

So much harder said than done.

The good news I celebrate today is that living in the light doesn’t require perfection! Let me repeat those words.

Living in the light does not require perfection.

God does not require perfection.

Let those words sink deep.

Only Jesus is perfect.

God requires repentant hearts. When we sin, He asks that we immediately bring that sin before Him and confess it. When we follow this formula, He forgives us fully and completely.

In 1 John 1:7, John teaches his audience to “walk in the light.” The Voice translation says, “walk step by step in the light.” Jesus is the Light of the World, so walking in the light means walking step by step with Jesus, letting Him lead, direct, and guide us.

It’s a daily walk. And we don’t walk alone. We walk with a loving, forgiving Father who empowers us to do better each and every day through the indwelling presence of His Holy Spirit.

At times, we will take a wrong step … away from the light and toward darkness. And this step may interrupt our fellowship with God. But the good news is, we need only turn our hearts back toward our heavenly Father and ask forgiveness. He waits for us to come to Him with open arms. He longs to forgive and restore our fellowship with Him.

The key is agreeing with God about our sinful thoughts! Because agreeing with God about them brings them into to the light.

What happens in the light is glorious! We don’t find shame or condemnation, we find love and forgiveness. It is the place where God will work in our hearts not only to correct us but also train us to think, speak and act in new ways.

When we don’t take immediate action to walk back into the light, we leave the door wide open for the enemy to take full control of the reins of our heart and lead us deeper into darkness and further into sin.

I have lots more to share on this topic! In fact, it’s a bit of a foreshadow of things to come. Will you come back next week and join me for Part 2? I will have a script we can follow when we find ourselves in a cycle of sin. And I can’t wait to share it with you. Please come back next week!

Let me close with a prayer.

Thank you, Jesus, for leaving the glory of heaven to enter into the grit and grime of this dark world. Thank you that You are the Light of the World. The One who can shine light into the darkness lurking in our own hearts. And when You shine that light, it is free of shame and condemnation. Your light brings with it mercy, grace and conviction. We confess that we have dark places in our hearts. I agree with You in this moment, they interrupt our fellowship with You. We ask You to shine the lamp of Your light into the deepest crevices in our hearts. Forgive us. Renew our thoughts. Renew our hearts. Make it so we honor you in all we say and do. We ask this in Jesus’ precious name. Amen.

And I would love to hear your thoughts on what I shared today from 1 John and how sin interrupts our fellowship with God. If you have a few minutes, please leave a comment.

*****WINNER OF SHARON JAYNES’ BOOK*****

Susan who posted on February 20 at 11:03 pm.

Congratulations! Susan, please e-mail me at deuteronomysix@aol.com with your full name and mailing address so we can get you your book.

Blessings,

February 20, 2017

Marriage Wisdom from Sharon Jaynes (w/Giveaway)

I’m excited to welcome my friend, Sharon Jaynes, to my blog today to share her new book, “A 14-Day Romance Challenge: Reigniting Passion in Your Marriage.” You will be blessed by her words of wisdom AND her GIVEAWAY! Read through to the end of the post for a chance to win a copy!

What do you do when you’ve lost that lovin’ feelin’ in your marriage?

Maybe you truly adored your husband in the beginning, but now you can’t remember why.

Maybe you honestly admired his finer qualities, but now you can’t remember what they were.

Maybe you appreciated his wonderful attributes, but now you take them for granted.

Between taking out the garbage, paying the bills, running the car pool, mowing the lawn, disciplining the kids, and folding the laundry, sometimes the passion of marriage gets lost. It happens to all of us at one time or another.

We can get so busy taking care of life that we forget to take care of love.

None of us got married so we could have a long list of chores. If you’re like me, most likely you got married because you were madly in-love and couldn’t imagine life without your man! You got married because your heart skipped a beat every time you laid eyes on him.

You couldn’t wait to tie the knot and build a life with this incredible person God had miraculously brought into your life. Maybe you still feel that way. But maybe you could use a little reminder—a re-stoking of the romance.

In the book of Revelation in the Bible, God had this to say to the church at Ephesus: “I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first” (Revelation 2:4).

Ephesus was one of the most loving churches in the New Testament, and yet somewhere along the way they lost that initial thrill of knowing Christ. Their love for each other and for God had grown cold.

So how do you get that lovin’ feelin’ back?

God gave the church two simple steps, and I believe we can apply them to our marriages as well. “Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first” (Revelation 2:5, emphasis added).

Remember how it was in the beginning.

Return and do the things you did at first.

One day I took John’s words in Revelation to heart, and decided to remember and return by romancing my husband for fourteen days straight.

Can I tell you, I was a little bit nervous about it?

What if he thought I was silly?

What if he didn’t respond?

But I took a deep breath, push the fear aside, and began to romance my man like I did in the early days.

Every day wasn’t earth-shaking romance, even though there was some of that.

One day I simply put a sticky note on his bathroom mirror that said, “I love you.”

Another day I placed a box of Red Hot candy on his car seat with a note that said, “You’re a hottie.”

One morning I warmed up his towel in the dryer and had it ready when he got out of the shower.

And you know what happened? At the end of the fourteen days, Steve had a skip in his step and smile on his face like a Cheshire cat.

And what happened in me? I can hardly describe the love that welled up in me, as I loved my man well. Hear this…I changed.

I don’t have a big, bad personal story of how God took a terrible, tumultuous marriage and miraculously transformed it into a storybook romance filled with white-knight rescues, relentless romance, and rides into the sunset leaving all danger and darkness behind. Although our marriage has been all that at one time or another, it’s no fairy tale.

Our marriage is a daily journal, one page after another, one day after another. I’m guessing just like yours.

Some entries are smudged with tears; others are dog-eared as favorites.

Some days are marred by unsuccessful erasures that couldn’t quite rub away hurtful the words said; others are finger-worn by the reading of precious events time and time again.

But on those days when I see my marriage slipping back into the mundane cadence of passionless routine, I pull out my list of ideas, and put a smile on Steve’s face.

And that’s my challenge to you and to me today. When we see the fire needs stoking, remember and return. It may be a little scary at first, but be brave and begin!

What is one thing that you can do for your husband today to remind him of how much you love him?

Leave a comment and tell one thing that attracted you to your husband when you were dating. We’ll randomly pick one name and send a FREE copy of Sharon’s new book, A 14-Day Romance Challenge: Reigniting Passion in Your Marriage. I’ll announce the winner next Tuesday.

Sharon Jaynes is a conference speaker, devotion writer for Girlfriends in God and Proverbs 31 Ministries, and author of 21 books. Her latest book, A 14-Day Romance Challenge: Reigniting Passion in Your Marriage will help you step out of the mundane routine of life and captivate your husband all over again. With encouraging stories, Biblical principles, and over 250 simple ideas on how to romance your husband, Sharon will show you how to put a smile on your husband’s face. Just in time for Valentine’s Day!