Good God Almighty

Good God Almighty

Good morning God. I’ve already talked to you some this morning but it was before I had my coffee and I was grumpy. I wanted to feel grateful earlier, but mostly I just felt annoyed at having to wake up to my alarm. So I threw out a quick “Thank you for this day” but I didn’t really mean it. And now, I am here with you wanting my heart to be thankful, but I’m still not there.

So I am at the conclusion already this morning that I need you. I need you to help me. Help me understand how to be grateful… really deep down inside, full of heartfelt gratitude, kind of grateful. Because I do know that I have so much to thank you for. You are the Father of lights and all good gifts come from you. I know you are good, but my thoughts are still struggling to focus. Instead, I grouse in my head about being tired or having a sinus infection, as though every detail of my life should be perfect or else you are not good.

You saw how my child groused at me this morning when I told her to take a bath, even though baths are hot and soapy pure heaven on earth! So even though I may not understand why you tell me some things, I do trust that you have a reason for everything that you let happen in this life. And even though I want to understand WHY about everything, I may not be ready for the truth yet. You may be waiting to reveal something deeper by letting me go through something I don’t like.

So really, this morning I need a bath. I need you to take my heart and cleanse it so that I can see more clearly how you bless me and give me more than enough for this life. I can’t see how to be grateful on my own, but you know my heart and you know the how and why of what is keeping me back from knowing your goodness intimately this morning. I really want to be close to you, but when I’m complaining about what you haven’t given me, I am missing an opportunity to recognize who you are.

How can I really know you if I don’t really care to see the good in you? When I have a relationship with someone who only sees bad in me, it is hard to believe that they really know me deeply. So how do you feel, God, when I throw a quick and lackluster “Good Morning” up at you while harboring resentment toward you and doubting your character?

So I’m asking you to open the eyes of my heart and take my self-imposed blindness away. Let me see the good that is who you are. Let me focus on you and how you leave everything time and again to run to me when I am weak and lost. Let me see your wings that cover over me like a baby chick when I am terrified and alone. Let me focus on your love that never fails and never leaves or forsakes me. Let me breathe in deeply and thank you for this life you have given me and these moments where I see you more clearly and my heart fills with gratitude for a good God! Let me see more of YOU and less of me.

Let me wake up praising you for who you are. You are good!

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Feeling Judged? There is a Way Out.

Feeling Judged? There is a Way Out.

We all deserve respect as human beings with our own unique perspectives and feelings and issues and yet, most of us don’t feel respected. We feel the eyes of judgment; the accusing voices reside in our heads and at our places of worship, our schools, and our workplaces.

We may go to the grocery store and see someone giving us a once over with their eyes or get a formal evaluation at work that tells us exactly where we are going wrong. We check out social media and see a comment directed at our lack of empathy or our lack of style or perhaps someone comes right out and tells us that we have major issues. We may have a conversation that doesn’t go the way we thought it would, so we re-evaluate every word thinking about how we messed up.

If we grew up in church, we were taught that grace covers our sin. What we probably were not taught is that grace covers the sin so completely that we do not have to go around worrying constantly about whether we have messed up or not! God is not looking down on us and trying to see which sins we have committed and judge us. He doesn’t even SEE our sin when we trust Jesus! As soon as we trust him, ALL of our sins are forgiven and God casts them into a sea of forgetfulness. They are further from him than east is from west! Why would he want us focused on our sin when he doesn’t even look at it??

We waste time feeling guilty thinking about something that God never tells us to look at. He says to believe him, trust him, and follow him. He says to come to him with all of our burdens and give them to him. When we talk with Him about what we have done that we feel guilty about, he frees us from judgment and condemnation! He doesn’t want us to dwell on our mistakes, but instead be free from the fear and condemnation that our mistakes cause!

An addiction cycle is when we mess up and feel guilty and then mess up again BECAUSE we feel guilty and unworthy. God doesn’t want us to live there in a place of defeat chained to our habitual mess-ups. He wants us to have the freedom to walk away from whatever is not good for us and others.

Living out of agreement with our conscience is not good for us. We have the ability to know what is right and wrong because of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Before humanity ate of the tree, we lived in perfect connection with God. There was no guilt or condemnation or fear between us! But after the eating of the fruit, the connection was broken.

We began to look at what separated us from God instead of trusting him and wanting to walk and talk with him. Instead, our natural instinct when we mess up is to run from God because we are afraid of condemnation. However, as humans living in the 2020’s, our focus does not need to be sin. We need to put the focus where it belongs – on God himself and his solution to the problem: Jesus. Jesus came to rescue us from the knowledge of good and evil and from the judgments we make about ourselves and others!

Jesus is the one we are following. Did he ever once ask his disciples to look at what they had done and be ashamed? Did he ask them to overthink their clothes, their habits, their food and drink? Did he make everything legalistic and about doing the “right” thing? No.

Jesus made life about following Him. And HE followed His Father’s heart. God the Father led Jesus where he needed to be, all the way to the cross where Jesus showed us the meaning of sacrificial love. He fulfilled the law precisely because WE COULD NOT. He fulfilled the law in his own perfection so that we could be at peace with the fact that we will never be perfect as a human here on this earth. We don’t have to try to be perfect and sit around feeling bad about where we mess up.

God created us for perfect connection with him. When we ate the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil, we began to judge good and evil for ourselves instead of trusting God by walking and talking with him daily. Jesus came to change all of that! We can once again have perfect connection with our Creator, but we don’t get there by being perfect. We get there because we trust that Jesus was perfect and he sacrificed his perfection for us. So we can stop judging ourselves and others continually. Instead, we rely on his voice and trust him to define good and evil once again.

We can once again have perfect connection with our Creator, but we don’t get there by being perfect.

We need to keep our relationship with Jesus at the forefront of who we are. When our conscience tells us we have screwed up, we can acknowledge it and run to our Father and tell him how disappointed we are with ourselves. And HE tells us that he loves us anyway because of Jesus. When we realize what Jesus did to set us free from fear and condemnation, we see how much He loves us and we accept the gift of that freedom.

We step into our purpose each time we follow his voice. And when we run to him and not from him, we find that he is always there loving us. We step into our purpose when we ignore the stares and whispers of those that sit in judgment, when we change our thoughts to loving affirmations rather than condemning and harsh judgments of ourselves and others.

So let them look. Let them judge. When our own mind condemns us, let God have those struggles and let them go. We are free from condemnation in Christ Jesus. We follow Jesus. Judgments of our person are not something we need to pay attention to. It is not their business to judge us. It is not OUR business to judge ourselves! It IS God’s business to judge us, but he DIED so that he wouldn’t have to judge us! Instead, he judged Jesus in our place. God chooses love. Perhaps we should think about doing the same for ourselves and others

Image by Myriam Zilles from Pixabay

Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith?

Galatians 3:2 ESV

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.

Romans 8:1-2 ESV

For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.

Psalm 103:11-12 ESV

Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved

Acts 16:31 ESV

if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.

Romans 10:8-10 ESV

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

John 19:30 ESV