Letting Go of Guilt

Letting Go of Guilt

Kristin J

I am a girl who loves to sit with a cup of coffee and daydream. I am most passionate about Jesus, my family, and family ministry. My husband and I live in Oklahoma with our two precious daughters. I spend my days with my girls, discovering and growing alongside them! You can usually find us either in our sunroom, the park, or taking long walks through Target. :)
Kristin J

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Clinging to our past is drenching, isn’t it? It keeps us from experiencing the fullness of the present.

Sometimes we just need to let go.

Perhaps it’s pride from past successes, insecurities that we’ve allowed to define us, pain from hurtful experiences, or crippling guilt from our mistakes.

Is there anything from your past that you need to let go of?

I’d like to share a little bit of my personal story with you, and why I am learning to let go of the guilt and shame from my past. 

First, let’s consider the following scriptures.

“let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.” (Hebrews 10:22-23)

 

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them.” (2 Corinthians 17-19a)

 

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.” (Romans 8:1-2)

 

There is beauty in the letting go of our past. 

The source of this beauty is God and his love for us, his chosen and dearly loved children. In his great grace, he forgives our sins and offers us a life filled with hope and assurance in what truly matters.

He wants us to let go.

 

My girls and I often walk in our local arboretum. Recently we’ve been enjoying the changing leaves and crisp autumn air.

I believe it reflects God’s grace. He paints the trees such glorious colors as they prepare to let go of their leaves. They let go of their leaves in order to sustain themselves through the winter, and so that they will be able to produce new life. I’ve been pondering this and reflecting on my own story, particularly a chapter I haven’t been able to turn the page on. 

 

During one of our evening walks, I watched my daughters giggle and play. I soaked in the sweet thoughts my five year old was sharing with me. I gave recognition to the value and blessings in this season of my life, and I knew it was time.

It was time to let go.

If I was going to flourish in the here and now then I needed to let go of the old parts of my story that left me feeling insignificant, stuck, and unfit for kingdom work.  I wanted to embrace the new chapter God was writing.

The specifics of my guilt aren’t really that important. In our selfishness, we all give way to sin. We all have reason for guilt. 

Dwelling on our past or how we thought life was supposed to be is a useless waste of energy. We can’t go back and do things differently. We can however, look to our past and see how God has worked in our life. We can remember lessons learned. We can consider where God’s brought us, and look for ways to bring him glory here, in our current circumstances.

We can’t grow in the past, but if we let go of what’s holding us there we can grow in the present.

 

It’s easier said than done. Letting go of guilt is especially difficult when we are living in the consequences of our sin.

There may be other people involved, you might be dealing with mental health issues, regular health issues, or you might have suffered loss. You might have a cost to pay.

Through this, it’s important to keep an eternal perspective.

Yes, we have to deal with the results of our actions, but we don’t have to wear the shame as our label.

We can let go and grow!

Doesn’t that sound better than clinging to our past mistakes, and wallowing in our guilt?

Which response will cause us to be more effective for the Kingdom?

Life is certainly filled with hills and valleys and some people face more difficult times than others. These chapters are hard, but even in them we can serve the Lord.

The purpose of bringing God glory exists in all of our chapters, not just the easier ones.

“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness and into his wonderful light.” (1 Peter 2:9)

 

 

“Letting go” isn’t about forgetting all of our bad memories or ignoring what other people think about us.

It’s not even about feeling happy. It’s about letting go of our sin and guilt, experiencing the fullness of our salvation in Jesus Christ so that we might be fruitful. 

So how do you do this?

Well, I don’t have all of the answers for you, but I know a good place to start. Fill your heart and mind with scriptures that speak of the assurance of your salvation. The above scriptures are wonderful ones to meditate on and memorize if you are struggling to release your guilty past. 

Here is the truth, friend:

If you have accepted salvation in Jesus then God intends for you to live with joy and freedom.  Without Christ we were headed toward death, but with him we are forgiven of sins, made clean, and headed toward heaven!

So let go of your sin and guilt, and live in the light of your eternity!

 

 

 

**

If you have not received salvation in Jesus and you would like to know more about God’s life changing grace then please reach out to our Creating a Great Day team. It would be our privilege to talk about the Gospel with you. 🙂

 

Let Me Live That I May Praise You

Let Me Live That I May Praise You

April E

I grew up in Oklahoma and attended Oklahoma Christian University. Right after earning my degree in Music Education I moved to Germany to do mission work for 5 years. During those 5 years, I married my husband and we eventually became parents to our spunky daughter! We settled back in Oklahoma and added an energetic son to our family! I am now a stay-at-home mom who is still very passionate about mission work, Germany, singing, family, and most of all, my relationship with God.
April E

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Transitions: Let Me Live That I May Praise You

One thing I think all of us have in common at some point in our lives is going through some sort of transition. Whether big or small, transitions can be hard. But life is full of them and full of ups and downs as well.

God Changed My Heart

I feel like I have also had many transitions in my life.

In college, I was sure that I wanted to teach music and live in Oklahoma the rest of my life.

God surprisingly changed my heart and led me to Germany. I spent 5 years living in Germany and serving as a missionary. It was my full time job.

At the end of the 5 years, we decided it was time to move back to Oklahoma and see what God had in store for us here. That transition was probably one of the most difficult transitions I have been through, but I don’t regret any of the experiences I had through it all.

The Struggles

One aspect of that transition that was difficult was the fact that I had been a full time missionary, whose job was to spread the Good News as much as possible on a daily basis. Coming to Oklahoma, I had to struggle with finding my identity and my “job title”.

Here, I was, a stay-at-home Mom and wife.

I didn’t feel like I had a specific task, besides taking care of my family, which I know is a very important task.

I felt like something was missing, though.

Then, I came to the realization that even though my official title was not “Missionary” anymore, I was still a child of God and my task on this earth was to still be a missionary wherever I was.

My name doesn’t have to be on a church bulletin under the list of Missionaries, to be a Missionary.  

Same Passion, Different Location

My passion was still the same… to spread the love of God and teach the Good News as much as possible on a daily basis. It may look different than it did when I lived in Germany, but every day I have to find ways to share that love with others.

Fulling Our Passion Purpose

We as Christians, all have the same title as Missionary.

We are all here on this earth for a reason. Our Heavenly Father and His son, Jesus are, and should always be, our first love.

No matter what our professional titles may be, or no matter what transitions we may be going through, the constant is our love for God and hopefully our passion to share that with others.

No matter what job or responsibilities we have to take care of, our greatest responsibility is to share our love of God with others.

Psalms: That I may Praise You

Let’s look at the Psalms and talk more about this passion for God and how we can live it out.

In Psalm 119:169, I feel like the author is praying for God to help them grow that passion and to live it out.

169 May my cry come before you, Lord;
    give me understanding according to your word.
170 May my supplication come before you;
    deliver me according to your promise.
171 May my lips overflow with praise,
    for you teach me your decrees.
172 May my tongue sing of your word,
    for all your commands are righteous.
173 May your hand be ready to help me,
    for I have chosen your precepts.
174 I long for your salvation, Lord,
    and your law gives me delight.
175 Let me live that I may praise you,
    and may your laws sustain me.
176 I have strayed like a lost sheep.
    Seek your servant,
    for I have not forgotten your commands.

Our Passion in Perspective

I just love that passage in Psalms. It really puts the phrase being passionate about our relationship with God into perspective.

Some of the words that are used could help us understand how we can be passionate about our relationship with God too.

Psalm 119:169 – Crying Out

In verse 169, the author cries out to God. In any situation, whether difficult or crying out with praise for the good things He does for us, crying out is a beautiful thing. Just like in our prayer lives and being in His presence, we should communicate our feelings to Him.

I still remember a good friend of mine sharing a Psalm with me and telling me it was ok to tell God how I felt, even in deep sadness. He showed me the examples that are written in the Psalms and how open and honest David was about his feelings.

God wants us to openly communicate with Him. It can bring us closer to Him.

Psalm 119:169 – Give Me Understanding

The second part of verse 169 says, “give me understanding.” Understanding His word, and especially searching for understanding of His word by studying it, is another way to show our passion.

How can we understand God better without being in His word and studying and trying to understand His words better?

Psalm 119:170 – Supplication

Verse 170 uses the word supplication. The definition of supplication is the action of asking or begging for something earnestly or humbly. Similar to crying out to Him, is being in supplication.

Have you ever had a time in your life, when you were on your knees, begging for God to help you? I have, and although it was not the happiest point in my life, I never have felt closer to God, than when I was in supplication to Him, asking Him to help me in that time in my life.

Going through that was a bonding experience with God. I felt his presence at my darkest hour.

Psalm 1119:171 – Overflow with Praise

Verse 171 says, “May my lips overflow with praise.” How much do we talk about our love of God in our everyday lives?

I know at times I’m guilty of staying quiet about it, especially around others that I know don’t share my beliefs. Is that what we are supposed to do?

I know we have to use discernment in regards to talking about our faith with others. On one hand, we don’t want to bombard someone who is already cynical or negative about God or our beliefs. We could possibly cause them to put up more barriers if we’re too pushy.

Also, for someone who doesn’t even know God, it may seem like a foreign language to them. I know how frustrating and discouraging that can be because of my experience in Germany. I remember wanting nothing more than to take part in a conversation, but instead just sitting there silently, trying to understand what is being said.

Let’s also think about how people who don’t know God might feel if we were to seemingly start to speak another language. There are small ways we can let our faith be known, without putting any pressures on others or making them feel frustrated.

If we can share about how we believe God helped us through something, could it possibly pique their interest?

We can’t control if someone believes that God truly did help us, but if we show how certain we are, is that not planting the seed?

Maybe just showing our sincere faith is what they need to see in order to question their own faith.

Hopefully, we can find small ways to express our praise to God and let others know about our faith.

Gratefulness

Also, being genuinely grateful and telling God how thankful we are for the things He has done for us is so important. We need to tell Him how much we love and appreciate Him.

If you’re a parent, you know the amazing feeling you get when your child sees the many sacrifices you make for them and then thank you for it. There have been times when I’ve gone out of my way to do something for my kids, only to be frustrated that I did them, because it either didn’t end with good behavior from them or they didn’t thank me for the lengths I went to. But when they see my efforts and thank me with grateful hearts, it really warms my heart and makes me so happy to see their appreciation.

I know I shouldn’t always expect appreciation, but it sure does feel good when I get it. I think God must feel the same way when we turn to Him and thank Him for the things He does for us!

Psalm 146:2 says,

“I will praise the Lord as long as I live; I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.” I want my lips to overflow with praise and I hope we can also find the many positive things that God does and thank Him for it!”

Psalm 119:172 – Sing Your Word

Verse 172 says that we “sing of your word.” As some of you know, music is very important to me. I love singing and I feel so much closer to God when I can be singing and worshiping Him. There is something special about singing praises to our Savior.

I love the verse Psalm 84:4 that says,

“Blessed are those who dwell in your house, ever singing your praise!”

What joy God must feel to hear His beloved children singing praises to Him! I can’t wait to sing in heaven someday with all of God’s children! I can’t even imagine how wonderful that will be!

Psalms 119:173 – Choosing God’s Precepts

Verse 173 says that I have chosen your precepts (commandments/ instructions). To choose something isn’t just to mentally decide on something, but it also means to actively choose it by following the precepts or commands and instructions.

If we don’t follow what God instructs us to do, how can we be close to Him or show our passion for Him to others?

It looks a little hypocritical if we say one thing, but do another, doesn’t it?

I know I’m not perfect and do and say things I regret all the time, but if I’m not constantly trying to correct myself and better myself to be more like Christ, then I’m not any better than the Pharisees were during the time of Jesus’ life.

In Matthew 15, the Pharisees asked Jesus why the disciples broke the tradition of the elders. The disciples didn’t wash their hands when they ate. Jesus’ answer to them was basically, “why do you break the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition?”

In verses 7-9, Jesus calls them hypocrites and quotes Isaiah, “This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.”

It is important that our beliefs and choices are lived out through our actions and that our hearts are fully invested in God’s instructions.

Psalm 119:174 – Delighting

Verse 174 says that “I long for your salvation and your law is my delight.” This makes me think of Psalm 42:1-2.

As a deer pants for flowing streams,
    so pants my soul for you, O God.
My soul thirsts for God,
    for the living God.
When shall I come and appear before God?

Have you ever longed to see someone? Maybe your spouse, significant other, family member or best friend?

Maybe it’s been awhile or you are far away? You can’t wait to talk to them or see them and hug them.

Do we feel this same longing to spend time with God? Are we excited to get to have some quiet time in prayer and stillness with Him?

Sometimes, I forget that is the kind of longing He wants us to have in our relationship with Him. I hope that I can grow in that longing and delight in my Savior every day.

Psalms 119: 175 – Live that I may Praise you

Verse 175 is probably my favorite verse. “Let me live that I may praise you.” I pray that my whole life can be praise for God and I hope that I can always re-evaluate my life to see if that is how I’m living.

Psalm 150:6 says,

“Let everything that has breath praise the Lord!”

Every single one of us were created with God’s breath so that we could live with Him and for Him and praise Him!

Colossions 3:17 says,

“And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

Every moment of our lives should be lived TO and FOR Him, who has done so much for us! I love the words in the hymn “O Sacred Head” that say, “Lord, let me never, never, outlive my love for Thee.”

Psalms 119:176 – We Have Strayed

Verse 176 says we have strayed like a lost sheep. We also need to realize our faults and failures and ask God to forgive us and to please continue searching for us and bringing us back to the fold.

We need our Savior and we must realize that need.

Also, we can’t forget His commands. We may temporarily forget and make mistakes, but we need these to be in our hearts and minds and never permanently forgotten. We should continually remind ourselves of these commandments.

I hope this is a helpful reminder to always be passionate about our faith in relationship in Christ!

Prayer Over Our Hearts

Dear Heavenly Father,

We thank you so much for your goodness, your faithfulness and your love. May you help us to be unified together through your Spirit and may we all seek you every day.

We want to be passionate about you in all that we do and say every day. Help us to rekindle our passion for you and to spread it to others.

It’s in Jesus’ Holy name that we pray, Amen.

More Faith Boosting Posts…

Five Encouraging Psalms to Start Your Day

Overwhelmed? Look to God!

Take a Tip from St. Nick

Blonde Brunette Ambition

Blonde Brunette Ambition

Follow Susan

Susan

Susan York Meyers is the author of several children’s books, including the picture book, Grrr…Night! for which she won the Creative Women of Oklahoma Award. If you enjoy Susan’s humor, check out Two Little Old Ladies: It’s all in the Attitude, a humorous inspirational book combining both fiction and devotionals. Susan lives with her hubby and Kira, the dog that thinks she’s people. You can find out more about Susan and her books at susanameyers.com. Sign up for her newsletter which comes out four times a year.
Susan
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Ambition

Even as a newborn, I knew I was destined to be a blonde. Yet somehow fate gave me a head full of bushy, dark hair. So, I spent the time in my crib rubbing my head against the mattress until all the brunette fell out.

My hair grew back in golden blonde, my destiny. I was blonde all my school years, although at some point, I realized my hair had darkened. I had become more of a dishwater blonde, but still blonde. My identity remained intact.

Sometime after my son was born, my husband and my brother-in-law engaged in a discussion on the color of my hair. (Why they were discussing my hair has been lost to history.) My husband contended I was a blonde, while my brother-in-law insisted I had, at best, light-brown hair.

I took a good look in the mirror.

Had I really gone to the dark side? Let’s just say, my hair wasn’t as blonde as I’d have liked it to be. Easily rectified, and for the next 25 or so years, I rectified it.

But lately, I’ve been thinking about going natural.

This isn’t as easy a decision as you might think. I’ve worked a lot of years at being a blonde. I realize in this era of changing your hair color to suit your mood – pink, brown, purple, blonde – it’s become more spur of the moment fun, than a life changing decision.

My choice shouldn’t be that monumental. But you have to realize, I grew up in the “blondes have more fun” era, Farah Fawcett flanked by two brunettes, blonde ambition, etc.…

Invested or Involved?

Lately my ongoing hair debate has made me think.

Do we sometimes face an identity dilemma as Christians?

We carry on as always. But is it really “us” anymore?

We are involved; no one can say we don’t do our part. But sometimes I think we use the word involved when we should use the word invested.

Are we invested as Christians?

You can be involved, but not invested:

  • You teach class because someone has to do it.
  • You attend a Small Group because your spouse wants to go.
  • You are in the pew at worship time because it’s your duty.

But does God only want us to scratch the surface as Christians?

When you are invested:

  • You teach because you are helping grow a new generation of Christians.
  • You attend a Small Group because you want to get to know your fellow Christians on a deeper level as you study God’s word.
  • You are in the pew at worship time because you are honoring and praising God.

As with anything, it comes down to attitude.

As we constantly search our hearts and minds, ever guarding against becoming complacent in our worship of the Creator, we need to not only be involved, but be involved because we are invested.

As for my hair, am I still invested in being blonde? My hair dresser and I will let you know.

Be encouraged by these posts as well…

Changed by God’s Word

Praying Luke: Glorifying the Lord in the Big & Small Details!

When Church Doors Close

Waiting on the Lord

Waiting on the Lord

Waiting on the Lord

Kristin J

I am a girl who loves to sit with a cup of coffee and daydream. I am most passionate about Jesus, my family, and family ministry. My husband and I live in Oklahoma with our two precious daughters. I spend my days with my girls, discovering and growing alongside them! You can usually find us either in our sunroom, the park, or taking long walks through Target. :)
Kristin J

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Vivid memories still linger from my childhood of those aching days before something exciting was going to take place. Perhaps it was spring break or a birthday. In my teen years it was summer camps.

Countless times I’d count down the days. Those periods of waiting might have felt unbearable at the time, but they were also exciting because I knew it would come to an end. The activity was marked on the calendar and I knew how long I’d have to wait.

Waiting on the Lord without a Set Date

Oh, but there are many times when what we desire isn’t marked on a schedule or calendar. Recently our 4 year old cashed in $5 worth of allowance quarters for a small Minnie Mouse doll- an item she’d spent months longing for.

Every time we went to the store she’d ask us if she had enough. We counted her money over and over, but without a clear concept of the value of money, she didn’t really understand. To her it felt endless. We were all weary from her waiting and it was a time of rejoicing when the wait came to an end.

Why Is It Taking So Long?

We can so relate to our children in their times of waiting, can’t we? Waiting is a life long experience in one way or another. Sadly, even as adults we don’t always handle it well.

I’ve had a particular request that I’ve been lifting to the Lord for years. At times I’ve been in such distress over it that I’ve found myself in doubt and anger.

“Where are you God? Why is this taking so long?”

“But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31 (KJV)

The Opportunity in Waiting on the Lord

In the last year I’ve been challenged to consider my desires a little more closely. Could it be that God has withheld this good thing from me because he wanted me to draw closer to Him?

While I can’t know for certain the reasons for my situation, I can (and should) analyze the status of my heart. In the past, I’ve held this request as something that is of the upmost importance for my happiness and worthiness on this earth.

Through this time of waiting, I’ve grown closer to the Lord and found more of the happiness and worth that comes through Jesus. He’s given me comforts and answers in other areas. He has blessed me with the assurance of his presence in my daily life. In this time of waiting I have been able to more fully know the joy that comes from God alone.

God’s Faithfulness While We are Waiting

“Because of the LORD’s faithful love we do not perish, for his mercies never end. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness! I say, ‘The LORD is my portion, therefore I will put my hope in him.’ The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the person who seeks him. It is good to wait quietly for salvation from the Lord.” –Lamentations 3:22-26 (CSB)

I’ve always loved this passage from Lamentations 3. It was written in the context of waiting for an earthly deliverance, but it is a reminder for all of us that God is merciful to us and that He is enough. Our joy today is that He offers us salvation through Jesus. We have an eternal deliverance from our sin, and the gift of His Spirit.

My Heart While I’m Waiting on the Lord

I will continue to offer up my request to the Lord. He knows my heart and He tells me I can bring my burdens to Him. I will not complain to Him though, as if he hasn’t already filled me with the greatest joy I could ever know. My happiness and worth do not depend on my unmet desires, my happiness and worth is set in Christ alone. “The Lord is my portion, saith my soul; therefore I will hope in him.” (Lam. 3:24 KJV)

Encouragement for Your Heart

Are you waiting on the Lord in an area of your life?

Sweet one, I know that it is not easy. Waiting never is. I encourage you to draw yourself closer to the Lord when you are tempted to back away and doubt. Open your Bible and read it’s accounts. Start a prayer journal. Fill your soul with songs of praise. Feel His gentle whispers on the other pages of your heart.

What we long for we may never receive. May our true joy come not from our earthly circumstances but from our eternal destination. Praise Him, we are rescued!



Extending my One Word Challenge

Extending my One Word Challenge

Kristin J

I am a girl who loves to sit with a cup of coffee and daydream. I am most passionate about Jesus, my family, and family ministry. My husband and I live in Oklahoma with our two precious daughters. I spend my days with my girls, discovering and growing alongside them! You can usually find us either in our sunroom, the park, or taking long walks through Target. :)
Kristin J

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The One Word Challenge

Have you taken the “One Word Challenge” before?

This is where you select one word to focus on in the new year. You might approach it as a word to study, reflect on, put into action, or all of the above! I’ve been participating in this challenge for several years now, choosing words to help me grow spiritually, and I’ve grown so much each time.

Sinking Deeper into Goodness

As 2018 is nearing it’s end, I’ve been thinking and praying over my word for next year. I find myself in a different posture this time. I’ve been truly inspired by my chosen word, goodness, and I’m not quite ready to move on. I feel as though I’ve only just started to embrace it’s meaning in my life. I have learned to see God’s goodness around me, but I want to let it sink deeper.

I’ve begun to look at the way I spend my time and see what is good- what I need more of and what I need less of- but I want to choose the good more often. Some of the good I’ve chosen in my life is hard- so hard- and I want to let this goodness fill my heart with pure gratitude and gladness. I feel like I have so much more to learn! I want mastery, or I at least want to see the change more in my day to day life.

The nice thing about this challenge is that there really aren’t any rules so I can apply this idea to my life the best I see fit. This year, I see fit to grow with this word a little longer.

So I won’t be choosing a new word for 2019, rather I’ll be extending my challenge another year. I will be embracing the word “goodness” and applying it to my life in new ways.

How about you? Do you choose one word for your year? What word will you be claiming for 2019?

Read my previously written post on the “One Word Challenge” here:

Will You Take the One Word Challenge? 

 

Is My Dedication Really to Christ?

Is My Dedication Really to Christ?

Kristi F

I am an Oklahoman by birth, a Texan by current living situation, but claim the world as my playground.I love to travel and hope to someday soon take our family on adventures to far off lands, where we can share God with others and experience all the wonders He has created.

I am a mother of 5 crazy, homeschooling children ages 10 & under, wife to an amazing man, and daughter of the King of the Universe!I enjoy reading, making my kids laugh, cooking, all things natural, learning to play guitar and dusting off my piano skills.One day I hope to run again, but until then I’m learning patience.
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Is My Dedication Really to Christ?

In essence this is what my 10 year meant when she asked,

“If you had the choice of being killed by a sword or dying for Jesus, which would you choose?”

Me: “I would choose to die for Jesus.” 

10 year old: “But that would really hurt?”

Me: “Yes, but only for a short time. An eternity in hell would hurt a lot more. Remember what Jesus said,So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven,but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven (Matt. 10:32-33). So even if the sword is very painful, I would rather choose Jesus than claiming he isn’t my Savior.”

10 year old: “Oh, yeah. That makes sense. I would rather die in my sleep or of old age than by a sword, but I’d rather have Jesus too.”

Oh, how I love my kid’s questions! This one has allowed us to unpack so much throughout the past couple of days. It has been amazing. It’s like everything that we have been reading in our Bibles over the years is coming together in and understanding is blossoming!  (Happy Dance, Happy Dance!)

Dedication

This question came while we were reading the Hanukkah story. Hanukkah actually means dedication and celebrates the day when the Temple in Jerusalem was once again dedicated to God after being desecrated by the Greeks.

Dedication.

Jesus celebrated this festival of dedication. He knew what it meant to be dedicated. His dedication to redeem our relationship with God that our sin destroyed led him from Heaven to Earth.

Dedication. 

He spent 30 years preparing, so he could live with a fierce focus that would lead to a physically excruciating end on the cross.

Dedication.

He overcame death and destroyed Satan’s hold on us, so that we could live eternally with God.

God sustained Jesus so he could have that kind of dedication.

We have the same choice to live with this kind of dedication. I know it seems out of our reach and if we were trying to do it by ourselves, I would completely agree that it is impossible. But with God all things are possible. With God, Jesus, and the amazing gift of the Holy Spirit, we can overcome. We are called to overcome, not by our own power, but by God’s might!

And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
– Hebrews 12:1b-3

 

Webster defines dedication as:

 

 

The Questions We Must Ask Ourselves

Are we really willing to dedicate ourselves to Christ?

If you are reading this blog, more than likely you at some point in your life decided to follow Jesus. You were overcome by knowing that even if you were the only person that had sinned, Jesus still would have gone to the cross to save you. The truth is we all have sinned and should all be overcome that Jesus dedicated himself to rescuing us from our sin.

Some of us, upon receiving his gift of grace, fall completely into digging into the Bible, learning all we can so that we can follow Christ. While some of us, just talk about how we follow God, but never really understand where he is leading, so we miss following his path, all the while proclaiming that we are on it.

(If you haven’t decided to follow Christ yet, email us, I’d love to chat with you. Honestly, I’d love to chat with you either way!)

So how do we know we are following Christ?

Our dedication to following Christ starts with reading his word. We pick up our Bible and read it. The fact that we have access to God’s word is a miracle in and of itself, but that’s a topic for another post. Don’t waste the miracle sitting in front of you. Take hold of the Bible. Even if it’s confusing now, just read it and pray for wisdom. God will give it to you. Then, prepare your heart.

Dedication Starts with Preparation

We have no idea how to dedicate our lives to God if we don’t prepare ourselves for daily dedication. This daily dedication starts by putting what we read into practice. Yep, it’s difficult. Some days more difficult than others, but it’s something we must do. If we don’t do it, then we are deceiving ourselves into thinking we are following Christ!

Deceiving ourselves?

That’s a bold statement but one James does not shy away from. He wants to make sure that if we say we are followers of Christ, then we actually follow Him.

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves.

Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.

 But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.
– James 1:22-25

Dedication to Christ is a daily choice.

We get to daily choose to:

  • Recognize that Jesus has all Authority on Earth and is our Lord and Savior
  • Recognize that Jesus also has authority over all the details of our lives
  • Trust that He has gifted his followers with the Holy Spirit
  • Believe that his Holy Spirit will be our Counselor and guide us to fuller understanding
  • Lean into His strength and wisdom through prayer
  • Plunge ourselves into His Word like a thirsty soul longing for a sustaining drink
  • Dig into the Bible to find answers to how we should live our lives
  • Live for Jesus no matter what the cost

Another Question that Lead to a Better Answer

Later that day, my daughter had another question in regards to whether or not I would allow her to do something.

Instead of just saying “yes” or “no” and explaining my reasoning, I chose a different option this time. One that takes more time, but will serve her much better in the long run. I asked her,

“What does the Bible says about it? Do you believe Jesus would want you to do it?”

She didn’t know any verses right off that would tell her “yes” or “no,” so the next day we pulled out the Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance, our Bibles, and read through many passages to which her question pertained. There are many more she can still read to solidify what God’s will is in regards to her question.

The answer she started to find  in the Bible did not line up with what she wanted to do, so now she has a choice and she gets to choose. Will she continue to dedicate her life to Jesus or will she dedicate it to something else?

Taking a break from playing spin the dreidel to dig into the Bible!

As a parent, I pray that I will take advantage of these opportunities to continue guiding her and our other children in the right direction, helping them sort the truth from the lies, and showing them that even when we fail spiritually, Jesus’ grace is sufficient for us.

As followers of Christ, I realize we each get to decide every day if we will continue in dedication to Christ or if we will choose dedication to self. Just so we don’t get complacent, we should ask ourselves often,

“Is my dedication really to Christ?”

 

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