iBelieve

Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” Mark 9:24

Archive for the category “Sin”

Day One 2019


Welcome to day one of 2019!  I won’t write in all caps in case some of you have a headache from too much midnight champagne.  I don’t want to increase the pain of your self-inflicted wound.

Let’s celebrate having a clean slate at the start of this new year.  Some people set goals, or intentions, to live better by exercising and eating better.  Those who have had a really rough 2018 because of an illness, a death in the family, a job loss, or relationship troubles, they may feel hopeful with the turn of a calendar page.  Perhaps they will get a reprieve from whatever bad has plagued them.  To be honest, day one of the new year is not the only time for a clean slate to begin again.

Having a relationship with Jesus, the bearer of our sin, gives us a clean slate any day of the year and as many times a day that we need.  We simply come to Him, with repentance in our heart for what we have done wrong.  Because of the blood he shed on the cross in our place, we can celebrate having a clean slate right then and there, after our confession to Him.  All of Heaven celebrates with us when our slate is clean from sin.

If tomorrow comes and you do not meet your goals or intentions to exercise or eat better, know that you can always start again.  If you sin, you can confess it and begin again.  You do not have to be stuck in your current situation.  Jesus is a prayer away in helping you break a bad habit and He can redirect your path when you are tempted to sin.

Today is day one of 2019.  Enjoy your clean slate.

Romans 6:4  We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.  

 

By Your Amazing Grace, Lord, I Need Another Restart


Daily Post Word Prompt – Restart

The alarm on my phone goes off at 5:00AM.  I avoid the annoying beep of the alarm clock of the past and have it set to play Amazing Grace (My Chains are Gone) by Christian artist, Chris Tomlin.  The alarm begins with some simple notes from a piano before Chris starts singing his rendition of Amazing Grace.  I set it for 5:00AM with good intentions of jumping out of bed, feeding the cats, and getting into my morning devotions and prayer time while sipping my decaf coffeee.  But the truth is, I hit snooze and tell myself that nine more minutes is all I need; I do this about four times.

In essence, I am giving myself a restart with each alarm that sounds and each snooze I choose.

In essence, this scenario can be compared with God’s forgiveness and starting over.

Paul said in Romans 7:18-20   For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature.  For I have  the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.   For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want  to do–this I keep on doing.  Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.

Paul’s words sum up our lives and why we need Jesus.

1 John 1:8-9   If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

Jesus died on the cross for each and every one of ours sins; no matter how big or how small. The restart happens as we are absolved from the sins we confess.  In our humanness, there are times we enter right back into the sin we just confessed.  It’s okay to confess again; it is through God’s amazing grace that we are cleansed, absolved, and we are given a “Restart”!

The alarm on my phone goes off at 5:00AM.  Sadly,  I will sin, but thankfully, my life gets a restart after I confess and move forward.

Prayer in the Morning


Read more…

In Pencil


I reach for a pencil every time I write Read more…

No Regrets


Daily Post Prompt: Kick It
What’s the 11th item on your bucket list? Read more…

Territory


My cat, Mojo, is possessive. He has favorite toys called kick-sticks (introduced to him by his foster mom), he likes to lie in certain spots throughout the house, and he makes sure the world knows I am his mommy. How does this once-feral-turned-house-cat tell the world I am his mommy? It is odd, but true.

Every morning he follows me into the bathroom and watches me disappear behind a curtain. Patiently he waits on the closed toilet seat for my return. Barely towel-dried, he quickly jumps to the sink and stretches his paws out to my shoulder and crawls into my arms. Mojo rubs against and licks my neck, jaw line and cheek. In this ten minute ritual, I have been marked as his territory. My soapy clean human scent has been replaced with whatever feline pheromones announce “she is mine”.

My Father in Heaven is possessive. He created men and women in his image; He supplies the world with resources and beautiful sites. He tells the world that we are his people. How does he do this? Through the water of baptism, we are cleansed of original sin and named as His children. Similar to the daily shower, God’s grace and mercy are new each and every day. The blood shed on the cross shouts out to satan, “This child is mine!”

I am Mojo’s mommy and I am a child of God. I have the best of both worlds.

Genesis 1:26 (NIV)
Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

Curb Appeal


Sometimes while I am driving through neighborhoods, I notice homes that could use new doors, new windows, a paint job or new siding.  I often want to rip off the ivy I see growing up beautiful brick homes.

I appreciate neighborhood curb appeal. 

Sometimes while I am amongst a group of people, I notice hair that should be combed, clothes that are out-of-date, and bodies that should be bathed.  I cringe when I hear inappropriate grammar usage.

I appreciate human curb appeal.

 Wait a minute!  What about what is inside?

 The homes that appear to be in shambles may have inhabitants that are ill, elderly or unemployed and they have to pick and choose what is most important on their limited funds.  The people who appear unkempt may be somebody’s V.I.P/hero.  They may be a very loving and doting spouse, parent or child.  They could be ill, elderly or unemployed and they have to pick and choose what is most important on their limited funds. 

I have no right to pass judgment.  I have every right to love my neighbor as much as myself.  That is the important lesson that Jesus stressed before he went to Heaven.

Matthew 7:2 (NLT)

For you will be treated as you treat others.  The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged.

I’m The One


I’m the one with the tongue sharp as a dagger that stabs people in the back. I’m the one who does not have time to visit the sick.  I’m the one who doesn’t donate to a food bank.  I’m the one who led the rally to stone the adulteress.  I’m the one who kills, steals and destroys.   I’m the one who hasn’t tithed because I worked hard for my paycheck.  I’m the bully.  I’m the one…I’m the one…I’m the one… It’s all about me!!

I’m the one that said nothing in secret; I have spoken openly to the world.  I’m the one who healed the lepers, the blind and the lame. I’m the one who fed thousands of people with a few fish and a few loaves of bread.  I’m the one who kept the adulteress from being stoned.   I’m the one who came to give life; life to the full.  I’m the one who meets all of your needsI’m the one that was flogged, scourged, spit upon, mocked, crowned with thorns, and crucified on a cross.  I’m the one…I’m the one…I’m the one…I did it for you.

 John 19:30 (New International Version, ©2011)

When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

April – Child Abuse Awareness Month


I was present at the birth of my great-niece almost eight years ago.  I was standing next to the crib where she was placed within seconds of entering the world.  I watched wide-eyed in amazement at how the nurse cleaned her up, cleared out her nostrils, mouth and eyes.  She was so little and dependent on everyone around her.  This precious child of God will need food, clothing and shelter, I thought, and I knew her needs would be met by the loving family who waited for her arrival. 

Under the veil of protection, some children do not receive the proper food, clothing and shelter they deserve.  Some families do not realize children are a gift from God and so the children are mistreated as objects instead of humans. 

My first encounter with child abuse was by reading the book A Child Called “It”: One Child’s Courage to Survive, written by Dave Pelzer about his own experience.  Dave’s mother was mentally disturbed and an alcoholic.  She mentally and physically abused him with tortuous games only she thought were amusing.  Child abuse is often cyclical.  Once abused, that person will abuse and that person will abuse, and so the ripple effect moves on.  Dave was able to overcome and broke this chain of destruction in his family.

Some children are sexually abused.  Usually the abused knows the abuser.  Sexually abused children are threatened to remain silent and this silence may bring about behavioral changes.  The following is taken from http://www.stopitnow.org/warning_signs_child_behavior   April 9, 2011. 

Behavior you may see in a child or adolescent

       Has nightmares or other sleep problems without an explanation

       Seems distracted or distant at odd times

       Has a sudden change in eating habits

       Refuses to eat

       Loses or drastically increases appetite

       Has trouble swallowing

       Sudden mood swings: rage, fear, insecurity or withdrawal

       Leaves “clues” that seem likely to provoke a discussion about sexual issues

       Writes, draws, plays or dreams of sexual or frightening images

       Develops new or unusual fear of certain people or places

       Refuses to talk about a secret shared with an adult or older child

       Talks about a new older friend

       Suddenly has money, toys or other gifts without reason

       Thinks of self or body as repulsive, dirty or bad

       Exhibits adult-like sexual behaviors, language and knowledge

Signs more typical of younger children

       An older child behaving like a younger child (such as bed-wetting or thumb sucking)

       Has new words for private body parts

       Resists removing clothes when appropriate times (bath, bed, toileting, diapering)

       Asks other children to behave sexually or play sexual games

       Mimics adult-like sexual behaviors with toys or stuffed animal

       Wetting and soiling accidents unrelated to toilet training

Signs more typical in adolescents

       Self-injury (cutting, burning)

       Inadequate personal hygiene

       Drug and alcohol abuse

       Sexual promiscuity

       Running away from home

       Depression, anxiety

       Suicide attempts

       Fear of intimacy or closeness

       Compulsive eating or dieting

You cannot pick a child abuser out of a crowd, but you can pick up on the warning signs listed above.  Reach out to a child or adolescent, they need you to be their silent voice.  

I witnessed my beautiful great-niece coming into the world and I know she is a gift from God.  I would do everything in my power to protect her and her siblings. 

 2 Thessalonians 3:2-3 (New International Version, ©2011)

And pray that we may be delivered from wicked and evil people, for not everyone has faith. But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one.

 

Secret Stash


 

Five-thirty in the morning or in the evening, it doesn’t matter.  My cats know it is time to eat their wet food.  Before Mojo was adopted into the family, it was never a concern to leave a half-finished bowl of food on the floor for the cats to snack on if they had not finished it all in one sitting.  With Mojo, it is a different story.

 

The morning feeding scenario:  My alarm (from across the room) rings and I get out of bed, hit the snooze once and crawl back into bed.  The cats understand that it is not time to wake up yet.  The second time the alarm rings, the cats may stretch and move their position on the bed.  By the third time the alarm rings, I make it my official wakeup call and I head for the kitchen where 16 paws, 8 eyes, and 4 hungry tummies follow me.  As a herd, we make our way to the unopened can of food and food bowls waiting on the counter.  One can of food is evenly divided into 4 servings.  Each cat is given their bowl in an order determined by Mojo. 

 

Mojo’s background is purely street-cat.  In fact, he came from our very own neighborhood.  Being a street-cat, Mojo had to fend for himself and he tends to eat like he may never eat again.  He does not chew his food, he inhales it.  He has been known to push the other cats out of their food bowls and help himself to seconds, thirds and fourths.  This is new behavior to the other three cats.  However, Zoe has a secret stash of nourishment.

 

Zoe is small enough to sit on top of our round, stainless-steel kitchen trash can.  She has indicated to us a while back that she would like her meals there.  She realized that Mojo does not comprehend she dines there and she can leave her food and come back to it at her leisure.  She manages her nourishment without having to be concerned with Mojo and his feeding frenzy. 

 

Do you have a secret stash of nourishment?  I am not talking about hiding food for snacking on when nobody is looking.  I am talking about Biblical nourishment.  Hide the Word of God in your heart for those moments in life when sinful temptations over-shadow you or when satan thinks he can have a feeding frenzy on your soul.  God wants to reside in your heart; it is the closest one-on-one contact He can have with you.     

 

Zoe can be fed from her secret stash any time of day she chooses because she knows where it is hidden. When God’s word is hidden in your heart, you too can be nourished any time of the day you choose. God will always be there.

 

Psalm 119:11

I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.

 

Proverbs 3:3

Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart.

 

Proverbs 4:20-22

My son, pay attention to what I say; turn your ear to my words.  Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; for they are life to those who find them and health to one’s whole body.

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