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Saturday, October 26, 2013

Forgiven, but Still Feeling Guilty?

Last week I attended the 8th annual Come to the Fire conference.* Hundreds of women from across the U.S. gathered together to worship God, to pray, learn from anointed speakers, and to seek healing.

Women came forward, single file, eager for healing.  I listened to their stories and prayed. Dabbing anointing oil on each forehead, I made the sign of the cross.  I trusted Jesus to touch their afflictions: physical illness, shattered relationships, and loneliness. At times I observed discouragement and sadness lift. For many, past sins pressed a guilty message upon their heart. 

Yes, those women had confessed their sins. Some asked for forgiveness for the same sin time and time again. Guilt remained. They believed Jesus forgives.  But, sadly, they couldn't forgive themselves. Like dent marks, past transgressions stamped their thoughts and feelings, leaving negative impressions about themselves.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Failure is Not Fatal

I was tempted and I failed. 

At my daughter’s diving meet I saved “bleacher seats” before leaving the pool. After the long intermission, my husband and I returned, and our sweaters, occupying our saved space, lay squished between two spectators.
  
I entertained two thoughts. 1. Those seats were saved!  2. That’s ok, we’ll find other seats. Unfortunately, I dwelled on number one.  Irritation boiled and provoked my pride. Pride magnified this slight injustice into a colossal violation.

I’ll just squeeeeze in there. Afterall, we were here first. Without excusing myself, I forced a place between two large women.

The lady on my left frowned. “If you want to sit here, why don’t you just ask?”
  
Half-smiling, I motioned, “I had these seats saved, you know.”
    
She threw me a dirty look and a built an invisible wedge between us.  
    
“I’m sorry for cramping you,” I mumbled and scurried to a nearby wall to stand with other parents.
  
 I didn’t really feel sorry at that moment; it just seemed like the appropriate thing to say. But shortly after, I began to feel lousy. I had failed. I knew my thoughts, words and deed missed the mark of Christ-likeness. I had disobeyed the Holy Spirit’s gentle nudge to overlook the situation and move on.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Why I Never Stop Praying

 Sleds, saucers, and four rambunctious kids crowded our van. Pursuing Mt. Baker’s 11,000-foot summit, huge snowflakes began to fall.  The higher we ascended, weaving around the steep mountain, on a narrow paved road, the heavier the snow fell. The kids cheered.

Suddenly, the van started to fishtail, tires spinning. The speedometer nose-dived….25 mph…15 mph…10 mph…5 mph…we slid backwards! I swung to the rear and commanded the kids, “Pray!”   Panic triggered my prayer, “God, please keep us from going over the edge. Stop the van!”

We stopped. Our van’s rear wheels teetered on the edge of a 200-foot ravine. Fearful that any slight movement would capsize us, we sat motionless.

Somehow… my husband maneuvered the van to safety. The kids spent the afternoon throwing snowballs and sledding down the base of Mt. Baker! God rescued us on the summit.

God’s chosen people, the Jews, following their captivity and deportation to Babylon, remained prisoners for two successive empires. Meanwhile, their once-beautiful temple in Jerusalem lay in ruins. Years rolled by. A frustrated people must have wondered, will we ever escape this situation? Will our temple always remain in shambles?

 Have you ever wondered if you would escape a situation that seemed destined to destruction? Destined to never change?