There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male or female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
Recently, while watching “Animal Planet”. I learned quite a bit of detail concerning a South African bird, the social weaver, that welcomes birds of other species and colors to nest with it. The weavers and the other birds all fly, sing, and hatch their young together. Their differing hues only add to the beauty of their group, much like an array of mixed flowers creating a breathtaking sight. A field of flowers of only one type of color, although beautiful, cannot match the variegated mixture’s stunning display.
A close friend of mine and her family are much like these multi-colored birds. He is white, she is black, and their daughter says she is “brown.” Unfortunately, the three of them have experienced the pain of being treated unfairly based solely on their variation of color. Others attempt to pigeonhole them because of prejudices born out of ignorance.
In the scripture from Galatians, Paul teaches us we are all one in Christ Jesus. As a child I often sang “Jesus Loves the Little Children.” Part of the songs lyrics say, “Red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in his sight”–and yes, brown too. God created many variations; no two of us are alike, and each of us is precious to God.
God sees beauty in our variety. Shouldn’t we?
And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7
Many Christians, long for such peace. Well, maybe you don’t! But, many brothers and sisters in Christ, go through their daily lives living in complete chaos.
“Peace,” is defined as; freedom from disturbance, quiet and tranquility. A state of balance and understanding in yourself and others.
Well, many of us have come to realize that “peace” is not something we can force. It happens from within. I’m not talking about a false sense of peace….but “true peace” that only happens when we trust in God’s goodness, mercy, and promises.
Well, “peace” can only be achieved when there is a complete “healing”
(becoming sound, healthy, whole, or restored) in our heart, mind, body, and soul.
Even though no “sane” person would willingly put themselves in such a position. Healing often occurs in spaces of ambiguity, conflict, uncertainty and tension. Which often manifests itself from exposure( an act or instance of being uncovered or protected) of something that may not be pleasant to admit. Whether it is something from your past, or something currently being adressed in your life.
Most of us, if honest….are trying to keep something out of sight. It may be something as harmless as clutter in a basement or as toxic as spiritual failings we try to hide from others. In Psalm 32, King David described the futility of trying to conceal his sin and the relief of opening his soul to the Lord: “I acknowledge my sin to You, and my iniquity I have not hidden. I said, “I will confess my transgression to the Lord,” and You forgave the iniquity of my sin.”
Is there something that has you weighed down today? Dump it at God’s feet. He already knows, and has provided you with the solution. Don’t worry–its what He wants you to do. Repeat this action as often as needed. Sometimes this means minute by minute. Then peace from that spring will flow freely in your life. And you will experience healing in your heart, mind, body, and soul.
Have you ever looked into the ancestry of your family? If so, what did you find out about your long lost relatives? Well imagine looking through your family history and finding this description of your ancestor: ” A prostitute, who harbored enemies of the government in her house. And when confronted by the police, she lied about it.” What would you do about her? Would you hide her story from anyone that inquired about this particular family member? Or would you praise her as one of the family legends?
Well, meet Rahab. If what we read in Joshua 2 about her were all that we knew, some might lump her with all of the other bad examples in the Bible. But her story didn’t stop there. Matthew 1: 5-6 reveals that she was King David’s great-great grandmother, and she is also in the lineage of of our Savior,Jesus.
And there is more. In Hebrews 11:31, it says that Rahab was a woman of faith who was saved from the fall of Jericho(Joshua 6:17). And, her works of rescue were given as evidence of her righteous faith.
You see…..God’s love is amazing that way. He can take people with a seemingly bad reputation, transform their lives, and turn them into examples of His love and forgiveness. There is NO one too bad to be forgiven.
YES, this includes you too. If you believe that you’re too bad to be forgiven, or if you know someone who feels that way, read about Rahab and rejoice. If God can turn her into a beacon of righteousness, there is hope for ALL of us.
Was not Rahab the harlot also justified? James 2:25
Whether our sin is great or small. Its all the same to Jesus. And He is willing to forgive them all! And still use you and I to fulfil His plan ….here on earth.
What kind of love is this? Is it natural, human love? No, it is divine love. It is the God-kind of love. And one characteristic of the God-kind of love is that it forgives. Another thing about divine love—when God forgives, He forgets!
We can rest assure that God’s Word is faithful and true, He watches over His word to perform it. His Word says He will be merciful and remember our sin no more. So why do we feel the need to keep reminding GOD of our failures? One of the primary times that we get defeated in our daily living is when we allow the enemy to continue to”remind” us of our past sin.
We allow him to play our past over and over in our minds as if they are movie videos, and we are watching a new release. Why would we allow him to do this? Yeah! Why? And again… why do we feel the need to remind God of our past failures and defeats? Hmmmm here is a clue….doing this will only make us weary, stressed and depressed. But isn’t that what the enemy wants anyway? If he can get us to continue to look back over our past failures, we can’t see what GOD has prepared before us and our future will look bleak.
The scripture says in Psalm 103:12 that God has put our sins away from us as far as the east is from the west. This is a statement of infinity. After we confess our sins in repentance, God no longer remembers our sins. No matter what the enemy says! When we gave our life to the Lord we became a new creature in Christ.
II Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
Oh another thing…. Don’t let us have a bad day and everything that can go wrong, does go wrong, we easily buy into the lie. The enemy will bring up our past making you and I to feel ashamed and condemned as if we have committed our past sins all over again. And when he does that, we often stop confessing what the Word of God says about us and spend more time confessing bad things about ourselves, holding pity parties, and giving un-due glory to the enemy by bringing up those things that are already forgiven. It’s not the Lord that is causing us to remember our failures, NO way…..it’s the enemy. God only sees us through the blood of Jesus Christ. We are made whole and righteous in His eyes. We have been “completely” forgiven because of the blood Jesus shed for us.
And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. Heb 10:17
Our sins can only be past sins if we leave them in the past. If we continually allow the enemy to bring our past sins into the present, they will be used to beat us down and wear us out until we eventually give up.
So why do we continue to allow Satan to condem us?
Be encouraged my friend….Romans 8:1 ESV tells us that we should take courage in knowing ..”There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Yes, thats right…. NONE! And in Romans 8:34… “Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.”
Into the sea of forgetfulness, You placed all of my sin But I’m the one that keeps reminding you Over and over again
You may ask….Well how do I defeat the enemy when he brings up my past? Well for one thing, don’t hold a conversation with him. We know how to tell someone to talk to the hand when we don’t want to hear what they are saying. Well, what’s wrong with us doing that to the enemy?
YES!!!! Put your hand up!!!! Let him know you don’t have time to talk to him.
If he wants to talk to someone send him to Jesus. Tell him, You’ve been forgiven and that the battle belongs to the Lord, not you! So get out of God’s way and let Him do His work through you!
Doing the will of God leaves little time for disputing about HIS plans for our lives!
Honestly, have you ever wondered about the script God has written for your life? I’m sure most of us have at one point or another in our lives. Hmmm! Weren’t you suppose to be a pro athlete or the next Miss Universe? Didn’t God mean for all our dreams to come true?
So why did we get the script that says, ” You’re going to argue with your neighbor, struggle to feel accepted, then slip up in a pool of water and break your arm”? Surely this script is wrong.
Try this little experiment. Get out a beautiful picture; something from a magazine, perhaps. Take a large piece of paper and cover the whole picture. Carefully cut a hole half the size of a pencil eraser in the paper. Slide the hole around on top of the picture. What do you see? Not much? That’s all we are going to see of God’s plan too. Maybe today’s script isn’t much fun, but God sees the big picture. You know–the beautiful one under the paper.
Thou dost show me the path of life; in thy presence there is fullness of joy, in thy right hand are pleasures for evermore.
Psalm 16:11 RSV
Your path led through the sea, your way through the mighty waters, though your footprints were not seen. Psalm 77:19
Some of my fondest moments are vacations at the beach. I always find that the sound of the water is so calming and peaceful. Regardless, of how turbulent the ocean seems to be, I always find tranquility. I spend countless hours walking the shoreline tossing rocks into the water, or searching for unique sea shells. Oftentimes, finding the perfect shell sits buried in a small pile of rocks, its silhouette unbroken by the rough waters.
Once I find what appears to be something worth adding to my collection, I pick it up and dust it off of all the sticky grains of sand,to see if it is in fact worth keeping. One morning, while walking I found a very rare looking shell. What a journey this shell must have had, I recall saying to myself.
I couldn’t help but think back over my own sometimes rocky journey of life.
I now have a better appreciation, and stand in awe, of just how God has brought me through seemingly rough waters, unbroken.
This is just a reminder of God’s faithfulness through the storms of life. We should always be mindful of God’s faithfulness even when we can’t see Him as clearly when we are going through difficult seasons in our lives. He is always there!
When outward strength is broken, Our faith must rest on the promises of God.
He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us.
2Corinthians 1:4 The Message