Forgiven

Have you ever played the blame game? If you are like most people you will probably acknowledge using a scapegoat from time to time, but few of us want to admit we actually have a habit of blaming other people for our mistakes.

Adam originated this game thousands of years ago, and since then, mankind has been attempting to master it.The truth is we don’t like to admit when we are wrong and when we are caught, we like to shift the blame to someone or something else. If we are stopped for speeding we immediately offer an excuse, such as “I was going with the flow of traffic” (blaming someone else) or “I didn’t see the sign noting the speed change” (blaming something else). We try to excuse our behavior and lessen the guilt and even the consequence of our sin. But unlike us, God is not fooled, and He sees past our attempts to hide our mistakes. God does not want us to use our past, friends, family members, or stressful circumstances as excuses.When we constantly make excuses for ourselves, it short circuits the work God wants to do in our lives because we spend too much time trying to find a way to minimize our errors.

When God discovered Adam and Eve in the Garden after they had eaten the forbidden fruit, he asked why they had been disobedient. Adam replied, “The woman you put here with me–she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.” (Genesis 3:12) When Eve was questioned she responded, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate it.” (Genesis 3:13) But despite their attempts to shift the blame, Adam and Eve were both held responsible for their actions because regardless of the influences that led them astray, they both had chosen wrongly by their own choice.

We all make mistakes, but when we do, we need to recognize that blaming other people or circumstances can’t absolve us of the guilt we face–only the blood of Jesus can. David’s response following his affair with Bathsheba should be a model to us all. He writes in Psalms 51:3-4, “For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight.” David didn’t attempt to make excuses and solely blame Bathsheba. Instead, he acknowledged his sin, after trying to cover himself before the people. But never before God. Because of David’s recognition that He needed the Lord’s mercy, he was forgiven and cleansed. And even though David’s life is littered with mistakes, he is still regarded as a “man after God’s own heart” because he was “willing” to take responsibility for his sin, not save face, cultivate a listening ear and a contrite heart.

God’s Fulfillment

Trials come into every life. There are days when it would be easier to throw the covers over our heads and avoid “confrontation, conflict, and circumstances” all together. But the Biblical approach is to” press on”, to be faithful, to stand firm, and to endure hardship. To be” effective” in the Kingdom, faith must replace fear, “confidence” in Christ must replace cowardice, and prayer must replace panic. God works in, through, and in spite of our trials, for He is not bound by our difficulties. Rather those trials can be tools by which He brings about His will and refines us in the process.Psalm 126:5 says, “Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy.” From this verse we can glean a myriad of lessons from the sower.

First, he continued the work He had been called to do “despite” his suffering. Secondly, he laid his burden down. There are times in our lives when we need to “lean not on our own understanding” by replacing our “need to know” with trust in God that He will bring to fruition what is in our best interest. As we cast our cares upon Him He will satisfy our desires in His timing. Scripture is filled with references to the “due season” and “appointed time” of God’s fulfillment. We can rest assured that though God may seem slow, He is never late. Another important truth that we can see from the Psalmist, is that time is a necessary element in the development of any vision. The sower planted his seed and then had to wait for it to spring to life.

God wants us to give Him our” hopes and dreams “and trust Him to work the miracles necessary to bring them about. God may even use our own “prayerful tears “as the water that gives life to the seed. Thus, we must plant seeds of faith, water them with “tears of hope”, and then wait in eager “expectation” for God to bring the” harvest.”

Our minds are finite, and we have a limited understanding of God’s ways. We generally look at a few puzzle pieces at a time whereas God sees the entire picture. Since He has designed the puzzle He knows best which pieces go where, so it makes sense that we should allow Him to orchestrate our meetings, order our steps, and outline our lives.

I Corinthians 15:37-38 says, “When you sow, you do not plant the body that will be, but just a seed . . . But God gives it a body as He has determined.” Plant your seed and let God bring about the fruit that He desires. God wants to do a miracle in our lives. Therefore, we must let go of everything that holds us back from what He has promised.

Psalm 84:11 says, “No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly.”

River of God

Do you know about the river of God? There is a beautiful picture of it in the book of Ezekiel. It begins its flow from underneath the throne of God. As it runs, it increases in depth until “it was a river that I could not ford, for the water had risen, enough water to swim in, a river that could not be forded.” (Ezekiel 47:5)

Here is the spectacular thing about God’s river: “And it will come about that every living creature which swarms in every place where the river goes, will live.”    (Verse 9)
 
This river is alive and it will cause what jumps into it to live. You may think this is a prophecy for the coming age, after Jesus returns. Yes, that’s true too but it is also for now.Why do I think that? Because Jesus makes reference to living water as something we can each have. He said: “‘He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, “From his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water.”‘” (John 7:38)

Living water restores life to what has been dead. Living water washes over us when we first believe and our spirit comes to life in God.Once we have this river of life inside of us, the possibilities are endless.

Why wait?

I’m impressed with something Paul the Apostle did during a missionary journey that I never noticed before. He and his companions were sailing from Crete and Paul, a prisoner, was eventually headed for Rome. They hit a severe storm at sea and were in extreme danger of losing everything including their lives.

Due to their dire circumstances, no one had eaten for fourteen days. Paul stood up and encouraged them to eat, telling them; “this is for your survival, since not a hair will fall from the head of any of you.” (Acts 27:34) It’s what he did next that I find so remarkable. He “took bread and gave thanks to God in the presence of them all.” (Verse 35) He did not wait until the ordeal was over and they were safe on shore. He gave thanks BEFORE the blessing came.

That’s a pretty good example for all of us. Sadly, most of us usually wait to say “thank you” till after we see the blessing with our eyes. But, why wait? Knowing that God is always working everything for our good and that He is blessing us continuously should make us give thanks before, during and after.

When we thank God before we have evidence, we build faith and we definitely build trust. We expect that God is going to act like God and even the direst circumstances are going to turn into a blessing.Go ahead and review your current prayer requests. I’ll do the same. Let’s give thanks now – before we see results. Let’s get a head start on all the thanksgiving God deserves for every blessing in our life, especially those yet to come.

Eyes WIDE Open

 

 

Is there really such a thing as blind faith?

I would say that we use “blind faith” to refer to those times when we “step out”and believe something without any reason why we should in the natural, but we “know that we know” that we have received a word to “act.”

For instance, Abraham was willing to sacrifice his son Isaac because God told him to even though it didn’t make sense. Elijah believed fire would erupt on his woodpile when he called it down from heaven even though he had drenched it with water.Each of these men trusted the greatness and power of God and simply believed that God’s promises are true. So when God said to sacrifice Isaac, Abraham trusted that God knew what he was doing and his job was to simply obey.

The “true” life of faith means we truly know our God. It means we can hear his voice and dismiss other voices. It means we understand God’s character and promises. If that is the case we may be called to do grand things like Bible heroes of the past. However that won’t only be blind faith. Instead, that will be faith in God…..with our eyes wide open.

Time to Move! Restoration

We have read time and time again about King David and Bathsheba. Bathsheba is more than likely disgraced in the community. And probably would like to tell David that he could just stay on his side of the palace, and that she never wanted to lay eyes on him again. Perhaps she even did. Scripture does not record Bathsheba’s journey of healing as it does David’s, but there is sound evidence that she did, indeed,make the trip.

Who would think that a relationship with such a sin-drenched foundation could even survive, much less prosper. God demonstrated His grace in the sanctification of a relationship that had once brought the condemnation of death. This is not a “healed but always deficient” relationship, but a “healed and holy household,” a union that brought forth Solomon, a child regarded by both sacred and secular authority as one of the wisest men ever born.

He succeeded his father as King, and his name appears in the direct bloodline of Christ in the New Testament genealogies.The restored, healed, sanctified marriage of David and Bathsheba bears both God’s hand and His blessing. It is purely poetic that the same prophet chosen to bring God’s condemnation of sin was also chosen to deliver God’s blessing on the fruits of this healed, holy relationship.

The LORD sent word through Nathan that He had a special name for this special child: Jedidiah — which means “beloved of God.” It is important to note that the healing and reconstruction of this relationship did not happen immediately. Based on historical accounts and comparative scriptural studies, it is apparent that several years passed between the death of the first son and the birth of Solomon. It is also apparent that, although David had many wives, Bathsheba became his favorite.

A marriage built on the healing grace of God always produces very special, intimate, bonded relationships. God never brings us condemnation without offering us grace and healing. This is a recurring theme throughout the Bible — God wants to have an intimate relationship with each of us, and goes out of His way to invite us into that relationship. The whole point of Nathan’s charge against David was not to punish him,but to restore him. I pose the question…Are you ready for a fresh start? Our lives can be healed, restored, and rebuilt, just like David’s was. We all know from experience that it will not be an easy journey, but it will be the most worthwhile venture of our entire lifetime.

Like David, you will have to be honest with God, and with others, and yourselves. Stop trying to hide your sin behind cheap excuses. Be willing to deal with and accept the consequences of your sin. Totally surrender yourselves to God. Allow Jesus to forgive your sin.Having accepted His free gift of salvation, let Him start the process of rebuilding your lives on His firm, eternal foundation.God is not only willing to help you rebuild, He wants you whole even more than you do! Why hesitate? If you find yourselves in this situation, its time for healing! Its your call!

Great Calm!

Don’t wait til the battle is over, go ahead and “shout now!”    Yes!  Rejoice, God knows the way, and He’s going before you!

Before we experience a breakthrough there’s usually a shake-up. Chuck Jaeger, the World War II hero who broke the sound barrier, fractured his ribs in a horse riding accident the day before he hopped into the cockpit and attempted to do what had never been done with a plane before. His friends said, “You’re in too much pain. Don’t do it.” His fears told him, “Nobody’s ever done it before. You won’t either.”

At 700 miles an hour the plane began to shake violently. Then suddenly he broke through into what he described as a “great calm.”

That’s how it is when we’re about to experience a breakthrough. When everything around us starts to shake and our fear level skyrockets, we’re not about to crash and burn, we’re on the threshold of a breakthrough!

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Grace

Grace defines us.  As grace sinks in, earthly labels fade.  Society labels us like a canning factory assembly line.  Stupid, Unproductive, Slow learner, Fast talker,or maybe even a Quitter.  But as grace infiltrates, criticism disintegrates.  We know we aren’t who they say we are. We are who God says that we are.  Spiritually alive.  Heavenly positioned.  Connected to the Father.  A billboard of mercy.  An honored child.

“Let them give thanks for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for men, for he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.”  Psalm 107: 8-9 NIV

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Jezebel Spirit

Recently, there has been much talk concerning the “Spirit of Jezebel”, which for me made a very interesting subject to discuss here at Tea Among Family.

There are many people who wish to label women only as a “Jezebel.” However, men and women alike can equally fit the description.  Many people have been misled to believe that to be labeled a Jezebel, that this spirit only involves sexual immorality, dressing promiscuously, and who may wear in their opinion too much makeup. Nope!

In the study of scripture (1 & 2 Kings primarily, with references also in the book of Revelation)we find that there are characteristics that any gender is capable of possessing. Yes, that’s right men can also posses a Jezebel Spirit too. Let’s look into this subject for clarification.

In the Bible, Jezebel was a powerful, wicked queen, and wife of a passive king called Ahab.  She was a false prophetess who worshiped the false god, Baal.  Baal was the god of prosperity, god of the harvests,  god of fertility and sex.  (Does this sound like some of the modern day gospels that some people preach?)

  • Child sacrifices were common.   She was killed by several eunuchs at the order of commander Jehu.

Jezebel was a witch, and her spirit of witchcraft is still in operation today in the church, and in the world. It will take both a Jehu and the cooperation of the injured victims (spiritual eunuchs) to kill her again.

The Jezebel spirit is sociopathic. Characteristic traits you might observe:

1. They gain power by destroying others. It is like an adrenalin rush when they “win” over someone. They manage to get in positions of authority, and are difficult to displace, once there.

2. They are controlling, manipulative, bossy.

3. They can either be war-like in their personalities,  so that they are intimidating,

or

so “sweet,” “perfect,” deceitful, “timid” and sneaky, they are able to fool and recruit others to join them.  Sometimes they can be very charming and charismatic.

4. Critical of others, vicious to the point of blood-thirsty.

5. They are never wrong.

6. They recruit others in their charges against their victims. They act to persuade recruits, and do not give up this activity until the recruits are won over. If the potential recruits do not cooperate and buy into things, this angers them.

7. They are narcissic. While they can tend to be oversensitive themselves, they have no concern for the feelings of others. They are not sympathetic to their victims, and tend to play the role of victim themselves, in order to gain sympathy. This way the real victim is left stranded, and opposed by others if they ask for help.  Being the center of attention really pleases them.

8. They lie, and they believe their own lie. Avoiding the truth, or intentionally acting to withhold truth is part of this. False picture is presented to others.

9. Impulsive, failure to plan ahead. chaotic at times

10. Lack of remorse after hurting someone. they justify the harm.

11. Consistent irresponsibility.

12. Irritability, aggressiveness (open , or subtle), can be quick-tempered.

13. Failure to conform to social norms. person is an “outlier” or non-conformist. has their own ways.

14. Sequestors information, and is quite gifted in obtaining information. (Computer savvy)

15. Claims to religious sentiments, but very superficial in devotion.  Born-again status is debatable, and unlikely, but would have to be evaluated on an individual basis.

16. Usually women, but can be men.  The women tend to control their men with sex.  And they pick passive men (Ahabs) so they can dominate them.

17.  Usually married.  If single, could be lesbian, homosexual man, or promiscuous man.

18.  They falsely accuse you, and they do NOT forgive you, and never gives credit or gratitude.

19. Vengeful, sows discord, insinuates disapproval, commands attention.

20. Manipulator, ambitious, independent, know it all attitude, and spiritualizes everything.

….many other traits were found.

The aggressive types will use their authority to abuse, criticize, & threaten you, and try to have you discredited.  The more sneaky types go into “victim” mode, immediately trying to solicit and recruit support, and make you look like you are the abusive one.

As one commenter stated: The person with this Spirit of Jezebel needs to learn the meaning of the word No!
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After, this study I believe we all can relate to a trait or two. However, the main goal was to enlighten those of us who may have been misinformed in the past.