A Matter of the Heart

Jan 02 2015

Verse for the Day: Lamentations 3:22-24 God’s loyal love couldn’t have run out, his merciful love couldn’t have dried up. They’re created new every morning. How great your faithfulness! I’m sticking with God (I say it over and over). He’s all I’ve got left. (The Message)

Happy New Year everyone! And yes I'm still alive. It's been a while since my last devotion; as a matter of fact, while I have several devotions already written or at least started, I didn't get any devotions out the whole month of December. But I do look forward to getting back into the spirit of writing as time allows. I have to confess, like anything in life, if you don't make time for whatever it is you want to do, more than likely it won't happen. That is unless you make it a priority and my devotion writing has not been one of my main priorities lately. It seems as if life always has a way of distracting, changing, avoiding, or creating havoc in our lives. And, as I think back on this past year - especially over the last few months, I can't help but think about the verses found in Romans 7:15-20 I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate. But if I know that what I am doing is wrong, this shows that I agree that the law is good. So I am not the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it. And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t. I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. But if I do what I don’t want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it. I don’t know about you, but for me it seems the world (satan) always knows my weaknesses. And, as hard as I try to keep the world from creeping in on my walk with the Lord, these verses in Romans hit a little too close to home.    

But here's the news… even when I miss the mark, fall short or get off track, God still loves me and He loves you regardless what you have done or failed to do over the past year or throughout your life-GOD Still LOVE's US. Look at today’s verse again from Lamentations 3:22-24 God’s loyal love couldn’t have run out, his merciful love couldn’t have dried up. They’re created new every morning. How great your faithfulness! 

God's love never runs out, His mercy never dries up, they are new every morning. Hallelujah! Praise the Lord! Regardless what happened yesterday, last week, last year or whenever makes no difference to God because He makes each day new. So, we have a choice as to whether we will embrace each new day with fresh eyes and a new heart or hang onto the past and allow the worry, sorrows, pain and, yes, even some of the successes and victories to control and guide our future.

For some of you the future might look as bright as ever before but beware not to fall into satan's trap of complacence letting down your guard. Remember what happened to Adam and Eve when they let their guard down. For others the future might look pretty dark and hopeless. You feel as if everyone has abandoned you - like there is nothing left to hold on to. But listen to the Lord’s promise found in Hebrews 13:5 ..... For God has said, “I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.”  So stick with God as we see in today’s verse He is always faithful.

As you start this New Year ask yourself these questions: Do I want to start a new way of living? Are you tired of living in the past? What does my future hold and how can I change the direction I'm headed?  As you think about these questions and your plans have not changed from past years, but you’re expecting or hoping for different results, that’s what I would call insanity. Most people would say you have to be committed to your Christian walk in order to truly change your life. And while that might be partly true I heard something the other day that totally changed my perspective about this ideal of commitment.  The thought was that Christians have replaced the word Surrender with the word Commitment in our Christian vocabulary. Think about that for a minute, to surrender means you give up or relinquish control but to commit means you still have some control or responsibility to make something happen.   

As I start this New Year I want to change my perspective on life from commitment to being totally surrendered to the Lord and allow Him to create me new every morning- I pray you will join me as we start 2015 by saying “As for me and my house I’m sticking with God” (I say it over and over). If you need help starting your walk with the Lord or what it means to surrender to the Lord let us help you by calling the church office at (505) 334-6524.

Nov 10 2014

Verse for the Day: Romans 5:18 Yes, Adam’s one sin brings condemnation for everyone, but Christ’s one act of righteousness brings a right relationship with God and new life for everyone. (NLT)

A couple of weeks ago, while at the cabin, my wife happened to notice a bloody spot on Kody’s foot (our two year old German Shepard mix), so we made an appointment with the vet to have it checked out. They determined it was a non-cancerous cyst and the decision was made to have it removed. When I went to pick Kody up later in the day, I had to wait for a short time while they rewrapped his leg because he had decided to chew off his first bandage. Well, needless to say, when they brought him out to me - guess what he had around his head. Yep! You got it, the big cone of shame to prevent him from having the ability to chew or lick the bandage which protected his stitches.

As I watched Kody enter the room his head was hung low, he was whimpering and you could tell his whole demeanor had changed from what his normal personality usually is. At every turn, door, obstacle, or anything he came close to, the cone of shame was there to remind him of his shame and consequently affect everything he tried to do. 

The longer I watched Kody the more it made me think of how satan has used a cone of shame on so many people to affect their lives and how they see themselves or how they think others might see them. There is no doubt that God uses a sense of shame or guilty feeling in us as a way to bring us back to Him and remind us who we are in Him. But satan uses a cone of shame as a way to drive us away from the Cross and the one Person that can help us get past the cone of shame. Satan inflicts us with pain, feelings of unworthiness, anger, bitterness, hatred, loneness, isolation, lies,  and revenge which then leads many to divorce, addictions, denial  and so many more things in which The Lord never planned for us.

A cone of shame can last a life time even if it's been physically removed, the memories and hurts left behind can haunt some people till the day they die. But there is Good News as we see in today’s scripture and in Romans 8:1 So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. While The Lord might allow us to feel and experience shame and guilt it’s meant to drive us towards the Cross in order to seek forgiveness and repentance for whatever caused the shame. If you are allowing this world, people, friends, work and, yes, even family members to define or tell you who you are, there is no doubt at some point in your life you will find a cone of shame around your neck. Satan can and does use those closest to us from time to time to inflict shame upon us. There is only One Person that will never let us down that came to remove our cone of shame and give us a crown of glory. That is if we will allow Him to; and that Person is our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

So, what is your cone of shame that you have allowed satan to use against you to keep you from The Lord, your family, your church or your purpose in life? What lies have you heard satan tell you that has affected the way you live your life? I'm too fat, I'm too stupid, I'm so unworthy, I'll never get it right, see you messed up again, __________ you fill in the blank. We've all experienced those moments in our life like Kody where we find a cone of shame and guilt around our head for everyone to see. The question is what will you do with it? Will it drive you closer to The Lord or further way? Will you use it as an excuse to hide, avoid, lash out or attack someone or a way to get back on track with God's plan for your life? 

While it may be easier to remove, hide or even except the physical or outer cone of shame that others might see you wearing. The emotional and inward pain, guilt and shame it leaves behind can haunt people for a life time. If you are living with shame and you feel you have turned it over to The Lord, but it's still hindering or crippling how you live and you can't seem to get past it, it's not coming from God. God never intended for us to go through life with a cone of shame around our neck until we die; that's why He sent His Son to earth for us. As human beings there is no one that has or ever will live on this earth that has suffered more shame than Christ as He hung on a cross to take upon Himself our shame and guilt and pay the penalty for our sins, even though He was without sin.

If you remember nothing else about this devotion, remember this. While satan knows your name he calls and reminds you by your shame, but as for Jesus while He knows your shame, He calls you by your name. So who's voice are you listening to? The voice of shame or the Voice of Glory. John 10:27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. Don't allow the voice of shame to control your life, if you need help listening, speaking or thinking a new language, let us help you get started on a path of healing by calling the church office at (505) 334-6524.