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What If You Get It Wrong?

Recently, I was struggling with an important decision. It was tearing me apart as I was allowing the lies of the enemy to compromise what I know to be true.  I was lamenting to a trusted and wise friend that my fear was I would get it wrong.  My friend said to me, “D’Anna, what if you do get it wrong?”  It was then that I remembered that Jesus’ gift of salvation does not come with a qualifier that I get it all right.  If my performance was a qualification, that would mean I have some responsibility for my salvation and in my eyes, I would never be enough.  How exhausting that would be!

Thankfully, I can take no credit for my eternal destiny.  Any good work I do is as a result of the Holy Spirit’s presence, not my power.  I cannot even take credit for faith, for it is from God, as well. (Ephesians 2:8).

Are you wrestling with getting something wrong today?  Has the idea of not being perfect or falling short thrown a dark disguise over the veil of truth that is meant to set you free? (John 8:32).  I pray if you find yourself here, you take the hand of truth today.

Father, I repent of the times I fail to believe. Help me and my friend remember that you and your promises are the same yesterday, today and forever. (Hebrews 13:8) AMEN.

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Opportunities to Repent

The older I get, the more opportunities I see where I need to repent.  I thought it would be the other way around but not so for me.  I am choosing to think of it as the sharper my “spiritual vision” becomes the clearer I see the junk that is there.  In light of that, I guess it is a positive thing.

Isiah 30:15~In repentance and rest is my salvation.

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In Rememberance We Find Rest

img_06891.pngJesus’ last three words before giving up His Spirit on the cross were, it is finished.  As believers, those are three of the most significant words that are so easy to forget. I often find myself losing sight of that truth, and I end up in a position of Jesus plus me or Jesus plus something else equals fulfillment.  My failure to remember that Jesus completed everything for me on the cross only leads me down a path of trying harder, idolatry, guilt, self-condemnation and ultimately shame and exhaustion.

It can be hard to believe and thus accept that it is just that easy; someone who owes me nothing died to make me right before God and to provided eternal life.   It feels much more natural to want to work off my debt.

There is something oddly comforting about pulling the products my sins, (guilt, shame, self-condemnation, self-pity), back down off the cross and wearing them like a warm, comforting coat on a blustery day. 

Continuing to feel guilty, shamed or condemned is an illusive form of self-righteousness.  Ouch!  It suggests Jesus isn’t enough and I need to help Him secure my salvation.

Isaiah 30:15 says in repentance and rest is my salvation.  That is good news for you and me.  When I go to The Father in repentance, I must not only repent for what I did but also what I failed to believe that led me astray.  Like the prodigal father, Jesus is always scanning the horizon to run to us with open arms and a forgiving heart.

It is finished, friends! 

I pray you remember to live from that, and when you forget like I sometimes do, turn back to your Father and rest in His grace!

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Anyway

b11e7535347810b6a8c6c98199bc4656Life will give us more than we can handle, but we were never meant to handle it alone anyway.

Life will give us more than we can understand, but we were never intended to understand everything anyway.

Life will take us places we don’t want to go, but we were never meant to travel alone anyway.

Life will cause us to question, forget, take for granted, disobey, offend and sometimes be angry at God, but Jesus died for us anyway.

Life will cause us to succumb to this world, but all God’s children are eternal survivors anyway.

You are never alone, and no matter what has happened or you have done, a repentant heart is loved anyway.

(1 Peter 5:7, Matthew 11:28)

(Deuteronomy 29:29, Proverbs 3:5)

(Matthew 11:28, Isaiah 42:16)

(Jeremiah 22:21, Romans 2:23)

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My Grown Up Christmas List

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Dear Jesus,
My Christmas wish list is not filled with things money can buy, rather with precious, eternal things that only You can help thrive.  When I was a child Santa Claus and gifts were the magic of the season; now it is about growing in my relationship with you that I see Christmases eternal reason.  I have a Christmas wish list from me to You.  It is simple, yet difficult and something only you can shepherd me through.  They are things this world can not satisfy, only You in me can I rely.  I do not ask for a perfect marriage but a peaceful one.  I am not asking for saints as children, but growing sinners who repent and know they are forgiven.  I do not wish for a sin free home, but one where a simple I am sorry I was wrong sets the tone.  I ask not for a life that is pain-free, but one that reflects You in me no matter what my circumstances may be.  In the world where suffering has no prejudice, I ask that you enable me to be a beacon of your message.  Through pain, great platforms are born.  Equip me to impact those watching who desperately need hope in the One person where hearts are transformed.  Thank you, Jesus, for all my blessings, the beautiful and the broken, because it is all of them that create opportunities for Your truth to be spoken.  If any of these requests, Jesus, cannot be, it is ok because it is only Your will that I desire be.  Thank you, Jesus, for dying for me.

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Running After Dirty Water

About a year ago we added a puppy to our family.  She has brought a lot of joy to our home.  There have been some ups and downs as there always are with a puppy, but more and more I notice the positives.
Yes, she is a dog, but she is also a teacher.  It is amazing how God can transplant His presence and instruction into any person, place, thing or situation.  Like a chameleon, God’s truths adapt to all surroundings. As we become familiar with Him, we develop a keen eye and acute ear for His presence, and the areas where He is convicting our hearts.

I see valuable lessons in the life of our puppy every day.  By the way, her name is Paisley, which means, the church.  It only fits that she would bear a name that is indicative of a place where people go to learn, grow and feel loved.

Loved.  Is that not the deepest inclination of so many hearts?  Few people this side of the garden know a more pure, rich form of unadulterated and genuine love than that of a dog.  If only I were half as good most days as I am every day in Paisley’s eyes.  If I loved like her,  always unconditional, cheerful and consistent, how my joy would multiply.  She is an example of how to love and be loved with no hesitation, terms or conditions.  She is an example of how Jesus loves us!

Many people have reported this kind of organic love and loyalty of dogs.  Although it is a highly important lesson, and one I am thankful she reminds me of daily, God has revealed much more to me through Paisley.

There is an area on our sidewalk that forms a corner.  Dirt and rainwater collect there, making it a well of dirty water.  This dirty water has become an alluring temptation for Paisley.  She has fresh, clean, life sustaining water available to her all day.  Her water bowl sits in the same place, and it never moves. Invariably Paisley will scratch the door to go out in order to run for a drink of the dirty water.

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Yesterday in my frustration of her repetitive, wrong and potentially hazardous behavior, I went out to stand guard over the murky water.  As I was walking towards her with her head down drinking, a teaching moment transpired in my head.  I am a lot like Paisley!  I have a Savior, who is always present and immoveable.  He provides an abundance of fresh, living water to me every day.  I know that. I know where the living water is and Who it comes from, but how many times in my flesh born tendency do I opt for dirty water?

I am running after dirty water every time my eyes, ears, heart, and mind become attracted to the idols of this world.  I run after dirty water each time I try and maneuver my plans into alignment with my wishes, not the will of my Father.  I am drinking dirty water when I worry or plan excessively, which in reality is control indigenous to unbelief. I am resorting to dirty water when I lose my patience with my children, husband or someone who thwarts my purpose, or threatens my misplaced righteousness.  I am running to dirty water when I forget prayer as my first line of defense and look for solutions inherent of the world.  I am running after dirty water when I look to anesthetize a desire in anything outside of Jesus.

There are so many instances I run after dirty water.  It is comforting to me that Jesus is not surprised by this.  Nor is He disappointed in me.  His well of nourishing water is always available, and it rests under an umbrella for sinners like me who need to run back and find a refreshing drink in the shade of His amazing grace.

Whose water are you drinking; that drawn from the soil or that flowing from The Savior?  It is never too late to switch sources. This verse in Isaiah is equivalent to a cool, cleansing drink of regenerative water.

Isaiah 30:15
This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says:
“In repentance and rest is your salvation,
in quietness and trust is your strength.”

Father, forgive us all the times we run for dirty water.  You know this is our sinful inclination.  You also know our hearts true desire is to grow in obedience to You.  When we squander our focus, gently redirect our gaze back to you, the only source that will adequately quench our thirst.  May we find rest in your patience and grace.  Amen.