Archive for Forgiveness

Life Hurts ~ God Heals ~ How To Avoid Relapse

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relapse prevention

 

“For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice, but what I hate, that I do. If then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law, that it is good. But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells, for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. For the good that I will to do, I do not do, but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me” (Romans 7:15-20).

Relapse ~ Falling back into a self-defeating pattern. How does it happen? 1) Complacency, we become complacent. 2) Confusion, we rationalize. 3) Compromise, we return to that risky behavior. 4) Catastrophe, we give in to the ould hurt or habit.

The road to recovery is not a quick fix. Sometimes the road is jagged, has a lot of twists and turns. Sometimes it is two steps forward and one step back.

No matter how we behave, God WANTS to heal us.

Part One ~ “R” Realize we are not God…

Part Two ~ “E” Earnestly believe that God exists…

Part Three ~ “C”  Consciously choose to commit all our life and will to Christ’s care and control.

Part Four ~ “O”  Openly examine and confess our faults to ourselves, to God, and to someone we trust.

Part Five ~ “V“ Voluntarily submit to every change God wants to make in our lives and humbly ask Him to remove our character defect.

Part Six ~ “E” Evaluate all my relationships and offer forgiveness to those who have hurt me and make amends for harm I’ve done to others except when to do so would harm them or others.

Part Seven ~ “R” Reserve a daily time with God for self-examination, Bible reading, and prayer in order to know God and His will for your life and gain the power to do it.

What Can Cause A Relapse? Why do we let it happen?

1) Reverting to will power ~ We think we have the ability to do it ourselves and stop depending on the dependency of God

“Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh?” (Galatians 3:3)

2) Ignoring one of the steps ~ We can’t pick and choose then expect God to fulfill His promises. We need to follow all of God’s steps one at a time.

“You ran well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth?” (Galatians 5:7)

3) Trying to recover on our own without support ~ Don’t be afraid to get into relationships, they are for our best interest. (Even the Lone Ranger had Tonto).

We can’t find healing on our own. The root of our problems are relational. Live in God’s healing together. Don’t try to do it alone, it will not work.

“Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, for he has no one to help him up” (Ecc. 4:9-10).

4) Becoming prideful ~ Stay humble or you will stumble. Pride sets us up for failure.

“Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18).

“Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall” (1 Cor. 10:12).

How To Prevent A Relapse

Reserve a daily time with God for self-examination, Bible reading, and prayer in order to know God and His will for your life and gain the power to do it.

“Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing but the flesh is weak” (Mark 14:38).

1) Evaluation ~ Continue to evaluate our lives and how we are doing. “Let us search out and examine our ways, and turn back to the Lord” (Lam. 3:40).

What am I to evaluate?

Physical ~ What is my body telling me? Am I tense because I’m stressed out? Like the warning lights on our cars…pay attention, fix it.

Emotional ~ What am I feeling? Like a pop when you shake it, it explodes out. Eventually we will explode if we don’t deal with it.

Relational ~ Am I at peace with everyone or in conflict with someone that is keeping me from having peace and healing?

Spiritual ~ Am I relying on God and His power everyday or am I ignoring Him?

“But let each one examine his own work, and then he will have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another” (Galatians 6:4).

Expect God to help with answers and to give the power, wisdom and strength we need.

2) Meditation ~ Slow down long enough to hear God. Have time in our life to hear God, busyness stifles us from hearing God.

“Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bring forth its fruit in its season, whose leaves shall not wither, and whatever he does shall prosper” (Psalm 1:1-3).

3) Prayer ~ This is how we plug into God’s power.

“Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, for Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen” (Matthew 6:9-13).

God is so committed to our healing that He went to the Cross and died for us. Remember the sacrifice He made for us and be obedient to Him and His Word. Examine yourself and your heart. Recommit to Him and what He wants to do in your life.

Life Hurts ~ God Heals ~ Coming Clean

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 24, 2013 by greatvictories

Coming Clean-man

R.E.C.O.V.E.R.Y.

How to get your person put together so your world looks fine.

“I have seen his ways, and will heal him, I will lead him also, and restore comforts unto him and to his mourners. I create the fruit of the lips, Peace, peace to him that is far off, and to him that is near, saith the Lord, and I will heal him” (Isaiah 57:18-19).

Part One ~ “R” – Realize we are not God: We admit we are powerless to control our tendency to do the wrong thing and our life is unmanageable. Naturally we do evil…In Christ we’re delivered from this body of death. That which we do we allow not. What we want to do is right but what we do is sin that dwells in us (Romans 7:15-17).

Part Two ~ “E” – Earnestly believe that God exists, that we matter to Him, and that He has the power to help us recover.

Part Three ~ “C” – Consciously choose to commit all our life and will to Christ’s care and control.

Part Four ~ “O” – Openly examine and confess our faults to ourselves, to God, and to someone we trust.

“Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile” (Psalm 32:1-2).

Reasons for this step of, Openly examine and confess our faults to ourselves, to God, and to someone we trust:

“He that covers his sins shall not prosper, but whosoever confesses and forsakes them shall have mercy” (Proverbs 28:13).

1) Guilt destroys my confidence. “What if people really found out. What would they think of me?”

2) Guilt damages my relationships. “Causes me to react with impatience, anger, spoil or indulge people.”

3) Guilt keeps me stuck in the past. “Look out the windshield, not the review mirror.”

Guilt can’t change the past and worry can’t change the future.

How to take this step to house cleaning spiritual discipline:

1) Take personal moral inventory. “Let us search and try our ways, and turn again to the Lord” (Lamentations 3:40).

Get alone with paper and pen, ask God to help you uncover them, confess them to God. Take your time and be honest with yourself and with God.

Search me, O God, and know my heart, try me, and know my thoughts, and if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139:23-24).

2) Accept responsibility for it. “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8).

We are good at fooling ourselves and allowing “stuff” to rule over our lives. Wherever we go, there we are. We cannot run  from it (sin). Don’t minimize it or blame others. Admit we messed up.

3) Ask forgiveness from God. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

Take your list to God, confess your sins. Don’t beg God to forgive you. Don’t bargin or bribe Him. Just ask and believe that He is going to forgive you. Be humble.

“Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord, though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow, though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool” (Isaiah 1:18).

4) Admit your faults to another person. “Confess your faults one to another, and pray for another, that you may be healed. The effective fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much” (James 5:16).

Who? Someone you can trust. “This is who I am.”

What do you say? Take your list and be honest.

When? As soon as possible.

5) Accept God’s forgiveness and forgive yourself. “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:23-24).

“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit” (Romans 8:1).

STOP packing those burdens of guilt! Christ died so we can be FREE!!

God wants to heal us of our guilt.

The Better Life of Peace

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 11, 2012 by greatvictories

You have heard that is was said, “You shall love your neighbor” and hate your enemy. But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven, for He makes His sun rise on the evil and the good, and send rain on the just and the unjust…Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect (Matthew 5:43-48).

As a Christian we are called to forgive no matter what. No matter how bad someone has hurt us. No exceptions.

Who would you consider an enemy, a parent, child, teacher, spouse, ex-spouse, friend, ex-friend, pastor? Have you forgiven them?  How do you respond to the enemies/adversaries in your world?

Jesus says to love ~ (an attitude or action, having a humble, self-giving heart, wanting the best for them, seeing them as God sees them).

There is a way to love our enemy ~ Jesus is our model. He doesn’t say they should face justice or that you have to have them over for dinner one night a week. But he does say to love them as a model of Jesus. “The thief does not come except to steal, kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” (John 10:10).

Benefits of loving our enemies:

There’s a physical benefit. “A sound heart is life to the body, but envy is rottenness to the bones” (Proverbs 14:30). There is scientific evidence that surpressed anger, unforgiveness, and bitterness WILL affect our health. Healing WILL begin when we forgive and work through our pain.

There’s a psychological benefit. “For as a man thinks in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7a).

There’s a relational benefit. “He who covers a transgression seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates friends” (Proverbs 17:9). Love is the only power that can turn an enemy into a friend.

There’s a spiritual benefit. “But if you do not forgive men of their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” (Mathew 6:15). We accept God’s forgiveness, we must accept and forgive others’.

We reap what we sow. If we forgive, we reap forgiveness. If we bless, we reap blessings. “The generous soul will be made rich, and he who waters will also be watered himself” (Proverbs 11:25).

There’s a kingdom benefit. “For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brother only, what do you do more than others? Do not even tax collectors do so?” (Matthew 5: 46-48).

Love ~ Do what God has already done for us ~ Do unto others. Help those who hurt you. Return good for evil.

You may ask, “How do I do this?” Through the P-E-A-C-E process. “Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men” (Romans 12:17-18).

P ~ Pray for God to give you the ability and love in your heart to forgive those who have hurt you. Pray also for those who hurt you. You will get personal healing. “…bless those who curse you, pray for those who spitefully use you” (Luke 6:28).

E ~ Empathize ~ Understand what they may be going through. Find out what is really going on under the surface. Hurt people, hurt people. Love the pearl that lies in the mire. “You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord” (Leviticus 19:18).

A ~ Act ~ Do good to those who hate you. Return good for evil. It is a choice you have to make. “But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you” (Luke 6:27).

C ~ Confess ~ Be willing to admit. Don’t be afraid to say, “I’m sorry, I was wrong.” Be a man or woman of character, humbling going beyond your pride and confess, turn and receive. Ask God if you might also be part to blame? “He who covers his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy” (Proverbs 28:13).

E ~ Emulate ~ Imitate God! Jesus loved and forgave His enemies. Those who beat Him, those who spit on Him, those who denied Him, those who ridiculed Him and those who hung Him on the cross. What happened in the past ~ forgive. Show Jesus’ love that is working in your life. It’s tough. It’s freeing. It’s commanded. “Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, and offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma” (Ephesians 5:1-2).

When a man’s ways please the Lord, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him (Proverbs 16:7). Submit to God’s ways. Love. Forgive. Do good to those who hurt you.

When will you initiate  the peace process? Only then can we live the better life, the abundant life!

Seeing People As God Sees Them

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 18, 2012 by greatvictories

Seeing through God’s eyes ~ Part 2

Jesus said to him, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it. You shall love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:37-39).

“But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love” (1 John 4:8).

Now He was teaching in the synagogues on the Sabbath. And behold, there was a woman who had a spirit of infirmity for eighteen years, and was bent over and could in no way raise herself up. But when Jesus saw her, He called her to Him and said to her, “Woman, you are loosed from your infirmity.” And He laid His hands on her, and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God (Luke 13:10-13).

Jesus noticed this woman and He notices you also. He knows every hair on your head!

Here are five things to help you see others…

1) Look around. How often do you observe those around you who need help?

But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd (Matthew 9:36).

Attention is necessary for a healthy life. Like a baby who needs constant attention, so the lives of people need attention.

The Lord bless you and keep you and make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you, the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace (Numbers 6:24-26).

There is something peaceful when someone notices you. Life is good, life is peaceful. Connect with God. Connect with others. Slow down, you never see Jesus in a hurry. Have compassion on others.

2) Take a risk. Notice the cast away, lonely, down troddened. Jesus always took risks. A risk of what others will think of Him…

For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? (Matthew 5:46-47)

For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if one died for all, then all died…(2 Cor. 5:14).

Take a risk. Let someone know you’re going to pray for them. Do a random act of kindness. Who can you act like Jesus to?

3) Reach out to someone who is not receiving love.

Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you (Ephesians 4:32).

Ways to reach out:

Jesus saw her…Look around, observe those around you who need help.

Jesus spoke to her…Do you know the power of your words? They are powerful. They speak life or death, blessing or curses.

Jesus put His hands on her…He personally touched her. We all need human touch. It is very powerful.

Tell someone this week you love them and give them a great big hug!

4) Expect some criticism. Don’t be more concerned with policy than people.

The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, “Look, a glutton and a winebibber, a friend of tax collectors and sinners” (Luke 7:34).

For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost (Matthew 18:11).

5) Seize the moment. Make a difference in someones life.

My little children, let us not love in the word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth (1 John 4:18).

And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love to one another and to all, just as we do to you,…(1 Thess. 3:12).

Do as Jesus did, you can’t  imagine or conceive what will take place!

Forgiven

Posted in Forgiven with tags , , , on June 8, 2009 by greatvictories

God's forgiveness

Don’t cease abiding in His love, and don’t drift away from an intimate relationship with Him. Its time to heed the still small voice within!!

Don’t go to the pigpen, that place of shame and self-condemnation! For the only place my needs will be met is in my Father’s embrace.

Realize my error and motives ~ change anything that’s not comfortable with love. True repentance involves a change of heart and change in actions.

Change my heart attitude from selfishness to brokenness and humility as I realize, no matter how much I fail, my PaPa’s waiting for me with out stretched arms!

When I’m faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself. (2Timothy 2:13)

When I fail, He doesn’t approach me with a heavy rod of correction, He runs to me, ready to welcome me back into His embrace with all the fullness of His forgiveness and love.

He exchanges my fig leaves of shame (fear, insecurity, guilt, loneliness, escapism, anxiety, failure) for a royal robe of righteousness. He places His ring back on my finger, restoring me to the place of full sonship in His household.

My child, I love you. I live to take away your shame. Everything is going to be alright. Experience My compassion, My love!

It’s difficult to process PaPa’s love as fast as I want to because there is often hindrances that slow me down, pride, counterfeit affections, hidden core pain from the past, unforgiveness, shame, unresolved conflicts, and judgmentalism that I think I have put all these issues behind me.

I need to let PaPa’s love begin to lift me above the circumstances that have held me back from experiencing intimacy and love.

A river always flows to the lowest point. It flows to those who have been deeply wounded by the sins of others and those whose sins have left them clothed with guilt and shame. It flows most freely to those who are meek and lowly of heart, and who will come to the Father like a little child in need of Daddy’s comforting love.

The heart of the Father is always responsive to those who truly turn to Him, no matter how far from Him I have strayed or how wicked and depraved I might be.

He forgave the people of Nineveh and welcomed them into His presence. (Jonah 3-4)

Jack Winter wrote in his book The Homecoming, “Servant can only bring others to a master, sons are the ones who can point others to their father.”

Until I let go of striving, jealousy, and rivalry in my heart, I’ll lead a life of frustration and resentment.

The love of God is a gift, it’s free and undeserved. There is nothing I can do to be loved by Him any more than I already am, and there’s nothing I can do to lessen His love. His love is unconditional, but if its not experienced on a level that brings healing to the childhood hurt and anger at not feeling unconditionally loved, a resentment and critical attitude often results.

PaPa, I’m aware of my sins…pride, envy, resentment, jealousy, anger, spiritual ambition, self-righteousness, sin against love, worry, doubt, gossip, self-love, lying…I repent and ask Your forgiveness, and I receive that forgiveness. I allow Your Spirit to transform my nature and character.

I anticipate the homecoming You have planned for me. Thank You for understanding my hidden core issues, my need for affirmation that stems from issues in my childhood. Thank You that You see the secret place in my heart that cries out for the unconditional love of a father, for the affirmation and affection that only You can provide. Thank You that Your compassion and mercy are available to me and that You long to bring me back to Your house to join in the celebration and the joy of the feast. Thank You that You are not ashamed of me or angry at my misrepresentation of Your love. Thank You that You want me in Your loving embrace.

Restore to me the joy of my salvation. I want to serve You with a pure heart motivated by Your love and compassion for others.