Restoration Road

What do you do when the people you deeply love continuously hurt you over and over again? I can only imagine what God must feel like when we make bad choices and move away from Him. This pain is deep. This pain is wide. This pain is leaving gaping wounds on my heart and in my soul. 

The road to restoration is a 2-way street but what do you do when you are the only one on it? Turn around and give up? Do you think that’s what God would want us to do? Maybe just park right where I am and wait? For how long? I know that’s what I need to do, pull over and park but it doesn’t make the pain go away or even lessen. 

I have been studying the beatitudes and they are coming to mind as I write this. How can I apply what I am learning from them to this part of my journey?

Blessed are the merciful for they shall be shown mercy.

Matthew 5:7

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they WILL see God.

Matthew 5:8

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be sons of God.

Matthew 5:9

I can boldly come before the throne of God and seek HIS mercy and grace. But if we don’t show mercy we receive judgement. If we don’t see God, we are not in heaven. If we aren’t called the sons of God we are outside the family.

John 10:10 says:

The thief approaches with malicious intent, looking to steal, slaughter, and destroy; I came to give life with joy and abundance. 

When you are the only one on “Restoration Road,” I believe that’s exactly what the devil wants. He wants to discourage us to turn around and give up. He wants to destroy completely the relationships you so desperately want to heal. He doesn’t want you to park and wait. He wants you to turn around and give up.

BUT. . .

James 4:7 tells us:

So place yourselves under God’s authority. Resist the devil, and he will run away from you. 

When we place ourselves under the authority of God, HE will give us the strength to resist the devil. HE will give us the endurance to stay parked, waiting for the opportunity to move further down the road, closer to restoration and the abundant life that Jesus promises!

 

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Priorities

Priorities; what comes first in your life? No, don’t answer just think about how much TV you have watched this week? How much YOU time have you had this week? Did you spend time in the word? Doesn’t that sound passive spending time in the word. Did you at anytime in the past week open a bible and read God’s word? Did you just read it? Did you gloss over it or did you have to fight to stay awake reading it? If so are you counting this as your quality time with the Lord. During the Old Testament only the best livestock was acceptable for sacrifices’. Do we give the best of ourselves to the Lord or just what we have left? When was the last time you hungered for God’s word? When was the last time you looked forward to studying His Word?

​Yeah life isn’t easy, and it is that much harder if we are to be a Christ Follower. And why is that? Well we have to recognize that the world is so very contrary to the teachings of Jesus Christ you could say backwards. Christ turned the status quo upside down. Have we let Christ turn us upside down, have we let him hold us there and shake everything that we hold onto right out of us? What sin or secrets are we keeping hidden? Not only does this keep healing from happening it destroys intimacy with Christ as well as with others. “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ Mathew 7: 21-23 Is it in anyway shape or form possible that God does not know us. He created us so of course he knows us, the very hairs on our head are numbered. What is being said is “You and I have never been intimate.” The word knew in greek is Ginosko which is better translated as intimacy. Are we being intimate with Christ? So are we letting God shake out all that we were, are we letting Him work in us. I say we’re because most of us listen to the world that says our past shapes us, we are a product of our environment. And that is all true without Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, but when Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior we have to look to Him to tell us who we are, we have to let Him shape us. Are you letting Him shape you?

​As Christians we are forgiven, we are saved. How have you responded to your salvation? The only proper response to our salvation is obedience. God so loved the world that he sent His Son to die for us. It’s by God’s Grace alone that we are saved. But why? So we will tell others what Christ has done for us, so we will spread the Gospel and bring Glory to God’s name. Sharing the Gospel and living in obedience is what others who do not know Christ see in us that they wonder about and causes them to seek themselves. When we do not respond in obedience we can do a lot more harm than good. When we do not live in obedience we are not being intimate with Christ. Now obedience does not mean perfect, we are sinners and we will continue to sin, but the Holy Spirit will convict us when we do sin. Our response should be to repent and ask for forgiveness from God and of those we sin against.

Attitude

Imitating Christ’s Humility

If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death– even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. ~ Philippians 2:1-11

Politicians and other world religions point to unity as being key to a tolerant and harmonious life.

I find it interesting that Paul does not point the Philippians to the idea of Unity itself. But to a deeper foundation which is to be found in humility. Jesus Christ is God and man in one, indivisibly, meekness and majesty, the man who is God and Paul points us to having his attitude. The fact that Jesus was both God and man makes His humility that much more incredible to me. Christ had a higher priority than His own interrupted Glory. Christ did not give up the attributes of God by subtracting His Authority but He accomplished His plan by the addition of His humanity.

When we live with self being our priority and pride our conceit, disunity is born. It’s easy to miss what Paul is not telling us here, he isn’t giving us a list of things to do in order to be in harmony or unity with others, he is simply pointing to Christ and the fact that Christ did not hold onto His Authority but He made himself nothing, a servant. Don’t forget that God didn’t just speak to us from the heights of heaven but He spoke to us by walking with us and speaking to us right here on earth in the Form of Jesus Christ. And during His time with us, He established an attitude that is to be the attitude of His followers.

How does this relate to us in our lives? When was the last time you refused to forgive someone because you waited for them to make it right or you didn’t want to be the first to give in? When was the last time you refused to apologize because it wasn’t your fault? There are few things that we have control over but two are the effort we put into living our lives and our attitude. We must remember the example of Christ, we must live the example of Christ. Thankfully we are not without an unending supply of Grace because we are going to mess this up.

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Don’t Go Looking For Trouble

How many times have you been accused of doing something or saying something maliciously? I mean really, some people are always on the defensive, looking for something done wrong or said wrong. Do you know anyone like that? I think we all do.

So, how do handle situations that others put us in like that? I know for me, if I let my flesh decide what to do I would cut off all contact with this person and just be done. But guess what? I try really hard not to listen to my flesh and seek out God and what HE would have me do when I find myself in a situation like that. By seeking HIM it gives me a chance to cool off, calm down and react out of love and not anger or bitterness. Scripture commands us to forgive others so we can also be forgiven.

“If you forgive the failures of others, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you don’t forgive others, your Father will not forgive your failures. Matthew 6:14-15

If this individual continuously causes you strife you may want to think about setting some new boundaries with them. I found a great devotional the other day that dealt with this specific issue, here it is:

If people are causing divisions among you, give a first and second warning. After that, have nothing more to do with them. Titus 3:10

Paul admonishes believers to be satisfied in whatever circumstances they endure (Phil. 4:11; 1 Tim. 6:7-8), but Scripture makes a distinction between godly and ungodly contentment. Because of their own brokenness, some people are not happy until they’ve stirred up strife in the relationships around them. Uncertain about others’ love for them, they attempt to find security in controlling the environment and creating factions.
When we come to Christ, however, He redefines our understanding of normal and healthy. No longer dependent on our selves, we find that he calls us to trust in His protection rather than our own. But we may not recognize how deeply our defense mechanisms rn, and some individuals simply choose not to walk in Jesus’ promise to make all things new (2 Cor. 5:17; Rev. 21:5). In Titus 3, Paul shows us how to handle relational strife: First, we respond with grace through a right understanding of what Jesus accomplished for us on the cross (vv. 4-7); we teach, model, and warn if necessary (vv. 10-11).
Reflecting Jesus’ love doesn’t mean partnering with other’ dysfunction. Instead, we mush present to others the light of His truth (1 John 1:5)
~ Regina Franklin

Now this isn’t to say that we should appear perfect and holier than thou, we will never be that and never could be. But we should be vulnerable when we make mistakes, we should be quick to forgive and ask for forgiveness. Forgiveness isn’t easy, but we don’t ask for it and we don’t offer it. Why do we choose to darken the light within us? Our God is big enough to change not only you but whoever you are having trouble forgiving. We need to let go of the chains of un-forgiveness, because we are not shackled to them we are holding onto them. God tells us to forgive and then He will forgive us. It’s pretty simple but we make it so complicated, God doesn’t want the perfect person He wants us with all our baggage. And with HIS help we can start to sort through that junk too!

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Chains

Beloved, has God changed your heart? Is HE still working in your heart? Are you having trouble forgiving someone? Listen, our God is big enough to change not only you but whoever you are having trouble forgiving. Let go of the chains YOU are holding onto. Please hear me, you are not shackled anymore but when you CHOOSE not to forgive & you CHOOSE not to deal with your junk you are CHOOSING to HOLD onto those chains. God says FORGIVE so then He will forgive us. God’s word clearly says that if we don’t forgive others He won’t forgive us.

“If you forgive the failures of others, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you don’t forgive others, your Father will not forgive your failures.
~ Matthew 6:14-15

Let go of the chains that are keeping you captive. Aren’t they heavy?