Self-Pity, Guilt, And Fear!

How would you describe the depth of your character, the real you? How do you react when you’re under pressure? You might be surprised to see what comes to the surface in those moments.

Those who faithfully understand that God has best interest at heart will turn to Him in time of trouble. When pressure comes and life squeezes them, prayers will come out of their mouths. Unfortunately, those who indulge themselves in self-pity, anger and bitterness, unable to see God at work in the circumstances of their lives. And they have a different response. Whenever the pressure of life squeezes them, unpleasant actions and words come out, causing more pain for themselves and others around them. They don’t realize their actions and words damage their character and their relationships.

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If you are like me, you will relate to this: Whenever I face suffering, I have a propensity to cry out to God. I move through the pain, letting God’s favor (His word) surround me.
Some days I was too tired physically, mentally and emotionally to deal with my or anyone else’s problems. I wasn’t looking for a trouble-free life; I know that life has setbacks and God uses them to grow us into the people He created us to be. We all face trials and conflicts in our lives from time to time. Life doesn’t always go as smoothly as we wish. We all know, to withstand difficulty in our lives, we must go through it. We can’t force healing. It takes time. But as far as me all I could do was to asked God on those moments “Please God, my Lord, take these problems and conflicts from my hand. I do not want to deal with it!!!”

Yet God was allowing those times of self-pity to make me realize how much I needed Him to shed His light on my direction. He was cleansing me from within, ridding me of that which wasn’t His.

The Lord says: “Come to me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
(Matthew 11:28-30)

I pray that when I face unfortunate circumstances, I do not lose my focus on God. And I hope that under any pressure, prayer would be the first thing to come from my lips, and my words and actions would be directed by God. As I already see His shield of protection.

God already knew what was bothering me. He knew what was bringing me down to a place of self-pity. If I kept dwelling in my own misery, it was going to take me deeper and deeper, eventually making very hard to emerge from the hole dug by my own unpleasant thoughts. It was a dangerous place to be. Instead, I needed to lift up my eyes to heaven with a simple prayer.

“Help me, Lord my God; save me according to your unfailing love.” ( Psalm 109:26)

I said, “No” to self-pity and guilt, I chose to not travel that route. I continued praying, telling God everything that was troubling me. As I confessed and repented, I felt a heavy load lift from my heart. Wow! It was a miracle. Guilt, regret and fear were gone, just like that! When you pray earnestly from the depth of your heart with passion and with faith in the Lord, you will experience His power and glory. That is His promise.
This is my prayer always; “Change me from within, my desires and heart, make them like yours, O Lord.” In your precious name I pray; Amen!

I hide His word in my heart now, as a shield to protect me, that I might not sin against God. They are now a part of me, they are my prayers – inspired words with which I can praise God, ask Him to meet my needs and then end my prayer with gratitude and thankfulness. The bible inspired prayer verbalizes God’s promises, which we can receive by faith. It’s almost as if some of the verses have become my lifeline. But no, Jesus is my lifeline. God hears Jesus’ prayers because He is Himself the Word of God. He is the prayer. He is the one who is sitting at the right hand side of God and advocating on our behalf.

“Let your eyes look right on [with fixed purpose], and let your gaze be straight before you.” (Proverbs 4: 25)

I’m praying for you dear reader, that you may have the urge to hide God’s word in your heart, and He may cover you with his shield of protections. Amen!

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Mirror, Mirror On The Mountain!

What happens when you look in a mirror? The mirror reflects the light in all directions around you. That is why you are able to see your image. You can see both the good and the blemishes. We spend hours beautifying ourselves while looking in a mirror. The reflection we see can tell us a great deal about how we see ourselves. It can help us to see if we need to wash our face or improve our appearance. Yet a mirror cannot wash our face or fix any imperfections.

As I have learned from one of my Bible studies, when we look at the Law of Moses (the Ten Commandments), it reveals our sinful nature. So the Law is a MIRROR. It is impossible for us to fulfill the Law, because we fall short of God’s glory everyday. The Law doesn’t clean us from SIN. But it definitely shows our need to be cleansed.

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Let’s look at the list of the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20:1-17
•I am the Lord your God. There are no other gods but Me!
•You shall not take the Lord’s name in vain!
•You shall keep the Sabbath day Holy!
•You shall honor your father and mother!
•You shall not kill!
•You shall not commit adultery!
•You shall not steal!
•You shall not give false testimony!
•You shall not lust after your neighbor’s wife!
•You shall not covet your neighbor’s house, nor his farm, nor anything that is his!!

While we glance at the Law, not only do we see the true image of ourselves, but also we see the the reflection of God’s holiness and His righteousness. We will never be able to measure up to God’s standard.
Have you seen anyone who claims to follow the Ten Commandments perfectly by their own efforts? I HAVEN’T!

Furthermore, Jesus said in Matthew 5:17,
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.”

How did Jesus fulfill the Law of Moses? This verse above is the most important verse in the Bible. We are called to understand that He came to earth to fulfill the Old Testament. He clearly said, “I did not come to abolish but to fulfill.” He didn’t come to erase the Old Testament, he came instead to complete it. By “fulfilling” Jesus meant that he completed that which the prophets predicted and prophesied in the Old Testament. If we take a close look at the Old Testament, we will see that the entire Old Testament points to Christ Jesus as Messiah, the Law as described in the Old Testament is fulfilled by Him in the New Testament. The following Old Testament verses are just a few of the many clear and important verses which shed some light on the fulfillment of prophesy in Christ: (Isaiah 7:14), (Isaiah 9:6), (Micah 5:2), (Zechariah 9:9), (Psalm 22:16-18).

Regarding Jesus’ completion of the Law, the new testament verse below describes it well.

Mark 12:30-31
Jesus replied: “This is the most important command of all; “ The Lord our God is One Lord, and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all you strength. The second is this: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” No other commandment is greater than these.”
If we follow these words of Jesus, we no longer need the Ten Commandments because obeying the new Law will completely satisfy the old Law.

In the New Testament, apostle James in (1:23-25) 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.

Indeed, when we gaze at Christ Jesus’ wounds (the holes on his hands, on his feet, and the wound on his side – all because He was nailed on a cross), we will find that His love is strong enough to forgive us and give us hope for future. He gave His life for you and me. So we don’t need to try to impress him with our good deeds to claim that we are righteous. All Jesus asked us to do is this – first, love God with all our being and second, love others as we love ourselves (the golden rule), If we do this, everything else will fall into place. We will be enthusiastic to do good and stay on the right path.

As I pondered the thought of “looking at the Mirror (Law)”, I was surprised when the Lord revealed something to me in a dream. I dreamt that I was in a big room with some other women and children. They were all dressed humbly, in earthy colored clothing and sitting by a wall on my right. They had a soft and gentle demeanor, as if they were content and in total peace, and they were minding their own business. Across from me there was a window, which looked like it was covered with steam. The Ten Commandments (the bad and evil things which the law says we shouldn’t be doing) kept flashing on the foggy glass-window. Next to it there was a huge wooden cross leaning on the wall in front of me. I noticed there was someone else from my family who is very dear to me standing at my left shoulder. We were both looking at the foggy window as the pictures kept appearing, and at the CROSS. Next I saw myself standing…. Stay tuned for second half this dream in a future post!

But as for the Law, I opened the Bible and looked for the “Law of Moses” in the Old Testament. I compared the verses both in Old and New Testaments. I wondered, did I think that my good deeds would save me? Did I think if I fasted for days, but hated or judged others, I would be righteous in God’s sight? Did I think if I practiced all the religious rituals, but with a prideful heart, that God would forgive me? Did I think that if I read his word but did not use it in my daily life, I would have a life full of His blessings? Did I?! NO!!! The Bible says we must surrender our whole being to God, and ask Jesus to come to our lives. That is the point at which we receive our salvation and become His follower. I realized that I no longer needed to work so hard to make myself righteous in God’s sight or prove to others that I’m good and worthy.

You and I are called righteous through the One whom God sent to save us. We receive our salvation in Christ Jesus. We are no longer a slave to fear or sin. Our old selves are gone, and our new lives start. What a privilege and honor it is that we are called to be children of Most High, our Creator, Father God.

Have an immensely blessed day!

Pursuing A pure Heart!

While I basked in His presence, I saw the holiness and the excellency of His law. My desires changed direction as I suddenly yearned for a pure and blameless heart. Instead of bending the law (His word) to justify my actions or feelings, I beseeched God to align my heart with His truth.

As one develops a close relationship with the Lord, it’s natural to crave a crystal-clear mind and heart. The call to pursue a pure heart is an invitation to experience the joy of a real and pure relationship with God, to be free from the burden of sin, and to become the righteousness of God and all He created us to be. “Fire tests the purity of silver and gold, but the LORD tests the heart. (Proverbs 17:3)”

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How does God’s fire of love refine our hearts? How can we clothe ourselves with the robe of purity? Does it require dressing in a particular way, or possibly going through some ceremonial cleansing ritual, or saying a specific prayer? Do you think any of these actions will cleanse what is in our hearts? While we’re wondering how to sanitize ourselves from the stain of sin, God’s word says, “Turn to Me and repent!” Repentance (defined not as ceasing sinful bad habits, but as turning from sin to God), and confessing our sin to Him will be the first step of purification. God not only promises to always be faithful to forgive us, He also promises to be with us during the sometimes painful process of purification. This “spiritual bath” is necessary to cleanse us from the sin that is tearing us apart and making us feel far away from Him. It’s a turning from sin to trust Him through faith – completely and utterly surrendering to Him and inviting Him to come and live in every area of our hearts.

As Beth Moore said; “Repentance is not a punishment, it’s an invitation to restoration.”

God purifies us through suffering. All those calamities that you are facing right now may just be the fire which is cleansing you from something harmful.

Our struggles cultivate a disciplined heart in us. We have already acknowledged that God is LOVE and LIGHT. Does love mean “no harm”? Actually, true love sometimes allows short-term pain for the purpose of REDEMPTION. It’s all for our benefit and will help us grow and mature. God is like a good surgeon who wants the well-being of His patients. This brings a story to mind that my Mom once told me. I don’t remember it happening, because I was very young when it happened. One of my brothers, who was a teen at the time, fell from the roof of our house into the back yard. Thankfully, he suffered only a broken arm but he ended up having a full arm cast for several months. When it was time to remove the cast, to the surprise of everyone, his arm was completely twisted. What did the doctor do at that point? Yes, you guessed right! Ouch!!! He had to re-break part of the arm in order to make it heal properly. My poor brother had to endure short-term pain in order to have his arm restored to how God designed his body in the first place.

Similarly, God wants to redeem us from the brokenness of unrighteousness and restore us to live a full live. So he sent the ONE who was without any sin to pay the price for our sin. Jesus took our place on the cross, enduring cruel torment and a horrifying death to purify us, to make us right with God. My sin, your sin, everyone’s sin was nailed to the cross on the day Jesus was crucified. God is restoring our brokenness through Jesus’s death and crucifixion. That is why we celebrate Easter. Whoever accepts Him as their savior is not only forgiven, but receives the promise of His continual presence. Wherever they go, the Savior is there to guide them and lead them to a full and victorious life.
“God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, in that Him we might become the righteousness of God.”(2 Corinthians 5:21)”
“He Himself bore our sins, in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live for righteousness; by His wounds you have been healed.”(1 Peter 2:24)

We humans are in need of a power to shape and mold us each day. This process requires our willingness. I realized that I couldn’t do this by my own effort. So I asked God, just as David asked Him in Psalm 51:10, “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”

God started molding my mind and cleansing my heart. He continues restoring me daily, encouraging me to rise above whatever circumstances might come my way. Sometimes matters and challenges come before me, causing me to turn the other way, away from the true light. WHY DO I DO THAT? Because our flesh is often at odds with the Spirit of God. St. Paul said, “ I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.” (Roman 7:15)

We frequently encounter situations where our words, actions, and tempers are suddenly doing what we don’t like to do. For instance, if someone treats you poorly, pointing a finger of criticism at something you have unintentionally done, your flesh may prompt you to treat them just as they have treated you. But the Spirit prompts you to do what is right – to forgive them and move on.

The word of God tells us that the sooner we bring our attention back to the One who is always with us and holding every moment of our lives, the sooner our minds and hearts will be filled with His thoughts and the light of His presence.

Zechariah 13:9 | NIV
I will put into the fire; I will refine them like silver and test them like gold. They will call on my name and I will answer them; I will say, ‘They are my people,’and they will say, ‘The Lord is our God.’

Now that we know God uses heat to test our faith and refine us, we can daily come before Him with humble hearts, open minds and empty hands. His fire of love separates us from the impurities that ruin our value, allowing them to be burned out of us. Every time I face a test of faith, I tremble and fear overwhelms me. What If I fail the test? Yet, the REFINER will never let the fire consume me. On the contrary, this refining fire gives me HOPE and restoration. It is taking place in me as I write these words. I look back on my life and see how God has changed me from within. My life took a turn for the better just by staying close to Him. I cannot wait to see what He has in store for me in the future. The Lord teaches me to look at everything and everyone with a humble perspective and a non-judgmental heart. It’s my responsibility to practice His teaching. Scriptures say, “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up.” (James 4:10)

Humility is the fear of the Lord; its wages are riches and honor and life.” (Prob 22:4)

These verses tell the importance of a humble life. Basically, if we want to have God’s blessings in our lives and have an authentic and pure relationship with Him, we must allow Him to cleanse our hearts and our thoughts by reading His word, focusing on Him and serving Him with clean hands. Obviously we cannot earn it by our own effort. It takes a vast amount of wisdom and strength to have success. Thankfully we do not do it alone. The Lord sent His Holy Spirit to help us. His Spirit rests on those who believe in Him and trust Him.

Some people might say they believe in Him, going to church every week, and reading His word, but if they don’t follow His teaching by actually living it, the chances of them having a PURE HEART will be very slim. Sadly, they will be on their own. As a result, they may face all kinds of disappointments and calamities.

Before I say goodbye to you for now, allow me to pray for all of us through this Scripture, “O God, create in us a pure heart, and renew a steadfast spirit within us. Protect us from people or situations that cause us to sin. No worldly power can make us pure. Only Your fire of love can purify our hearts. In Jesus name, Amen!”
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“If you walk in the light, as He is in the light, you have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, His Son, purifies you from all sin.” ( 1 John 1:7)

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