On The Way To The Trashcan

“I’m all done,” said three year old Stella, referring to the partially eaten school lunch in her hand. She stands up to leave the table. Grabbing her plate, she starts walking over to the trash can but does something odd…..she continues to eat food from her plate. All the while she slowly walks to the trashcan.  “But I thought you were done,” I laughed to myself. That’s when it hit me.

Don’t WE do the same thing? We say, “I’m all done” what that bad habit….that addiction…..that negative talk……that unhealthy lifestyle.  “I’m all done” with fear and insecurities. “I’m all done!!!”  All the while we continue to partake or participate or engage in the very thing we are trying to dispose of from our lives.

Oh that we should be patient with one another as those around us make attempts to turn over a new leaf: saying I’m all done, yet succumbing to it one more time. Even more, we should be patient with ourselves.

We need to forgive the failed attempts, and encourage that long slow walk to the trash can! Hebrews 12:1 tells us “. . . We must get rid of everything that slows us down, especially sin that distracts us, and run the race that lies ahead of us and NEVER GIVE UP!”

Making life changes can be immediate for some, but most of the time it’s a process. In other words, THE STRUGGLE IS REAL! Don’t be quick to judge yourself or others. Mom & Dad, don’t be so harsh on your children as they struggle to make the right choices. God has equipped us to turn over a new leaf…….as many times as it takes us to get it right.

We can do all things through Christ because He gives us strength, because he wants us to succeed, and because He has good plans for our lives.  He is patient and kind to forgive our failed attempts, and He extends to us the power of His grace. Furthermore, He says to you…..NEVER GIVE UP!

I Thessalonians 5:11 Encourage & build each other up

Ephesians 4:29  Don’t say hurtful things to each other. Find something good to say & help when you can

Galatians 6:2 Share each other’s troubles & burdens

Hebrews 10:24-25  Come up with ideas to stir up love & do good things; be encouraging

I Peter 4:8-10 Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love makes up for many of your faults. . . God has given each of you some special abilities; be sure to use them to help each other, passing on to others God’s many kinds of blessings.

 

My Messy Life: God Loves me Anyway!

You know you messed up yesterday at work when you lashed out at your co-worker…..and remember that time you expressed a little road rage?……..recall that grudge you’re still holding against Jane?…..Oh and don’t forget the bad decision you made when you clearly knew God was against it…. And there’s the impure thought…..the unfair treatment to your spouse…the list could go on, and I’m sure you get the point.

We all mess up right? Right. Does it ever make you feel like you don’t deserve to be loved by God…..ever make you feel condemned during a church service…..feel unworthy and undeserving? I’ve felt that way before, but that is wrong thinking. The truth is, when we think that way WE are the ones placing conditions on God’s love. We are in essence telling HIM how to-OR-not to love us.

This kind of thinking can make you hold back during praise and worship service, keep you from getting involved in ministry, and sadly it can even keep people from attending church all together. All because we don’t feel like we deserve love when we have messed up so bad.

I have a surprise for you: God loves you anyway, whether you want Him to or not! As a society, we tend to place conditions on everything, including love. But God’s love for us is conditionLESS.

I’ve seen a lot of information out there that disagrees with me, so allow me a chance to explain. I’m not saying that you don’t have to repent of sin, and be saved to go to Heaven: you most certainly do. I’m also not saying that you can sin to your heart’s content and have God’s approval.

I’m simply saying there is NO condition to simply be loved by our Creator. Let’s look at the definition of unconditional love:  affection with no limits or conditions; complete love.

His Word tells us that He loved us when we were still sinners (Romans 5:8))! In other words, He loves us BEFORE we have a chance to get our messy lives ‘right.’ He loves us BEFORE we love Him (I John 4:19). Our sin….our mess ups from last week…..our stinky attitudes could never limit God from showering His perfect love on us. You want to know what that looks like: it looks like the cross, and it looks like an empty grave. He loves you to death!!

Let’s get something straight here. God doesn’t love us because we are lovable or good. God loves us simply because He Himself IS Love.

So go to church!
Sing loud during praise & worship!
Say Amen to the preacher!

Don’t let shame and condemnation cause you to disengage from God, from church, from people, from His plans for you! God loves you: messy life and all.