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No Self Clean-up Required

The Lord has been trying to show or tell me that He loves us in our mess. He does not want us to put out traffic cones and caution tape to separate ourselves from Him until we “fix” or clean ourselves up. He loves us in our mess and desires to love us out of our mess. We are not perfect beings, but He is! It is through His righteousness that we are perfected and made righteous. Without allowing His love to come to us in our mess, we will never get out of it. To get ourselves out of the pit is impossible, we must wait on the Lord to provide the way out and then trust and act on it.

Sometimes it is the little messes that cause the biggest problems. We often think we can fix the “little” issues, but the truth is that without Christ’s help, we can do nothing to fix ourselves. Try to imagine digging your way out of a deep well; it cannot be done. The more you dig, the deeper you get. But if you don’t panic in the situation and wait for the enemy to try and bury you by throwing dirt in your face…You can slowly step up onto each pile of dirt he throws, until you reach the top – overcoming everything the enemy [Devil] has thrown at you. The Devil thought he was getting rid of you and burying you for good, but in fact the Lord was using him to provide a way out of the hole you got yourself into.

Why do we try to fix ourselves without asking for the Lord’s help? Yes, the easy answer is that we are in a form of pride, but I also think that sometimes it comes out of our imperfect love for Christ. We are imperfect without Him and therefore love imperfectly without the Spirit’s help, yet we so desire to be perfect for Him. I know there are times I would much rather try to “fix” something myself, than taking the chance on disappointing someone I love by allowing them to see me in my mess. Although I have never been able to fix any issue myself, I always somehow convince myself that “this time” it will be different and I can fix it. I try to “fix” the problem on my own, because I do not want anyone to be disappointed or hurt because of my mistake. I think at least some of the time it is the same situation in our relationship with the Lord. We do not want to disappoint Him with our imperfectness, so we try to perfect ourselves so we do not hurt Him.

We are not perfect beings, so we will continue to make messes. But He is perfect in His love for us and is able to “love us out of our mess.” The bible talks about how clean the stall is without an ox (no messes), but much work gets done with the ox. (Proverbs 14:4) The Lord knows we will make mistakes and sometimes even make HUGE messes He will have to help us out of, yet He still chooses to work THROUGH us rather than around us. He knows our potential [in Him] and the wonders we could do in His name if we keep our hearts right and surrendered, so he keeps us in His ‘stall’ to be used as we allow Him to use us. This is a strange concept for our human minds to comprehend, that a perfect God would desire to use an imperfect person to change the world…But it is true, He loves you and desires to use you. Keep your heart right with Him and surrender to Him daily, and He will amaze you at the messes He can love you out of and the things he will do through you.


Little Things Go a Long Way

Have you ever noticed that if we work on the little things in life the bigger things come together all on their own most of the time? But if we try to focus on the “big” picture/things too much, we often get overwhelmed, stressed out, and may not reach our “big” goal. I don’t think this is by accident, I believe it is God’s plan for our lives. We can get so busy trying to “get things done,” we forget to focus on doing everything unto the Lord. As we try to accomplish more things on our “to do” lists, we stop focusing on the smaller and/or daily items we should be doing each day. Sometimes we may do the minimum required of us on these “small” tasks; other times we may stop doing them all together thinking they are insignificant and don’t matter in the “big” picture of life. But is this really surrendering it all to Christ? I have come to the conclusion the answer is, “no, it is not.”

We are supposed to do all things to please the Lord (Colossians 1:10). But if we are no longer focused on the little things in our life, can we say we are really doing them to please the Lord? If we are just going through the motions to get them ‘done and off our list’ so we can move onto what we consider ‘more important’, are we really doing them to please Him? I often tell my oldest son that we need to be sure we do everything to the best of our ability in all excellence, to please Christ Jesus…even the little things in our lives. Do we brush our teeth to the best of our ability, do we dress neatly and cleanly to the best of our ability, do we do our chores to the best of our ability, do we do those tasks we dislike the most to the best of our ability…or are we just getting them done? What is our attitude when we do these “little things” of life? I believe if we are able to focus on the Lord in everything we do at all times, then we will find that His joy and peace will abide in our hearts at all times no matter what we are doing.

God wants every part of our life surrendered to Him, including the little things in our life. We need to think about everything we do or do not do and be sure we are surrendering it to Him. If we place our focus on surrendering the “little things” of life unto Him, He will take care of the “big things” of life. If we take the moment to pray before we make decisions or answer a tough question, we will often find that the end result will work out for us, somehow. We need to leave the “big” things in life in His hands, they are too big for us to handle anyway and only cause stress and often health problems.

We need to make sure we are not getting too busy doing the “important” things in life to thank, praise and worship Him with the little things in our lives! How many “little” areas of your life need to be focused on and surrendered to the Lord? Do we honor the Lord with our daily choices and activities, or do we honor ourselves and/or the world? Our biggest ministry is the “little” things people see us do every day, how we choose to live our lives. I offer my life as a living sacrifice unto Him, and I pray that I can be a mirror of Christ to those around me every day. What about you?


The Cycle of Unlove Must be Broken

It doesn’t matter who we are now or who we were in the past, the Lord loves us the same. It’s like we try to explain to our own children, “I love you all the same amount” or “I love you no matter what.” It breaks the Father’s heart when we rebel, but He still waits for the day of our return to Him. Just like the father in The Parable of the Lost (Prodigal) Son (Luke 15:11-32), Our Heavenly Father throws a party in heaven each time a sinner repents (Luke 15:6). When people rebel, it is more often than not because they do not feel worthy of being loved, and they try to push everyone away from them (including and especially God).

Too often we try to “get love” or “be loved” by people who are either unable to love us, unwilling to love us, or both. There are too many children out there who have parents that are unable to love them properly, because they were never loved properly themselves. They were not given or shown love by their parents; and since we cannot give what we do not have, they are unable to give it to their own children. Instead, children today are taught low to survive in a love deprived environment. No one should ever have to feel as though they are unwanted or unloved, but so many children are made to feel that way every day. Most of them never recover from it and instead continue the cycle of “unlove”.

The cycle is broken with some people, but not with others. Why? The answer is, “Jesus loves me, this I know“. The answer is not that He gives one person love and not another; He freely gives His love to everyone who is willing to accept it. The answer is that the one person accepted His love and forgiveness, and the other still feels unworthy of it and continues to reject His forgiveness and love. We can never “earn” God’s love or forgiveness through our own works, we must accept it freely and willingly through Christ in our hearts. He loves us unconditionally and righteously once we truly accept Christ as our Savior. This reality seems impossible to those who have deep scars of rejection or past hurts, but it is real and it is there for any and everyone. Christ died on the cross for you and for me, no matter who we are or what we have done…period, no exceptions.

He gives us true unconditional love, something no one else can ever give us, show us or teach us. Once we understand what this is, we can be healed of all scars, no matter how deep they run. The acceptance of His unconditional love comes with surrender. Believe it or not, the lack of acceptance of His love is a form of pride. We must surrender this image of ourselves as unlovable to Him, and allow Him to show us how He views us, perfected in Christ’s righteousness. We ourselves will never attain perfection or righteousness, but we are given Christ’s perfection and righteousness through His death on the cross. He died for you and for me, before we were ever born or committed even one sin.

For a long time I understood in my head that my own mother did the best she could to love me, and I forgave her for not loving me “enough” during my childhood. But it was only recently that I truly gave the scar created by the lack of “a mother’s love” over to the Lord to be healed and erased. Something changed in my heart one day, something I cannot explain. The only words I can use would be the “excuse” I created for my mother’s actions and choices have now become my forgiveness. Rather than my heart breaking for the injustices done to me in my childhood, my heart breaks for her hurts. We must receive and accept Christ’s love for us, so we may turn and pour it out on those who are hurting…Even those who have hurt us. Once we have accepted Christ’s forgiveness and love, the healing process begins and we are able stop the “cycle of unlove.”

The pain the “cycle of unlove” created may not immediately stop or go away, but by surrendering to Christ daily and leaving our “right to be hurt” at His feet, we are able to be healed. It is a daily processes to lay down our ‘rights’ at His feet, especially in the world we have today. But it is one that will bring peace, joy and healing into our hearts and lives. Once the scars of our past have been healed and erased, we are able to minister to others who are caught in the “cycle of unlove” and possibly help them to break it in their own life.

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