buildingbodies4christ

building on the foundation of Jesus Christ

Archive for the tag “Restoration”

My Identity Crisis

It’s been almost eight years ago when I found out my medical identity was stolen. It didn’t seem like such a big deal at the time. The insurance denied the claims and everything seemed to be fine. Until the day I went to get my driver’s license renewed and found out it was suspended because of my failure to complete the rehabilitation issued by the courts. Uh? I was floored and stumbled out to the parking lot wondering what had gone so wrong? The lady’s identity became wrapped up in mine. Since then, I have dealt with her problems on my credit report, and the report that goes to auto insurance companies, which is separate – who knew? For years I have been dealing with higher and higher auto insurance premiums and wondered if insurance could go up that fast. When I switched insurance companies, the insurance man pointed to the wrecks in unknown cars that were linked to my account. It just never ends.

This woman has major problems; drugs and/or alcohol, medical issues, and just major sin issues. For some reason this woman is tied to me. What’s the purpose behind it? I don’t know yet. I don’t know how this story will end. Good hasn’t come of it yet, but it will. God says He works all things together for the good of those who love Him and are called to His purpose (my paraphrase Romans 8:28). I believe those words so I know there is a greater purpose than these little irritants that keep popping up over and over. Satan likes to use these little irritants to keep me off-balance or to distract me from my purpose. Every time I take a step of faith, the credit report will come back with issues or the renewal of policies/licenses, something tied to this woman will impact in a negative way. All I can do right now, is clean up the mess and pray for the woman. Satan will one day quit using this woman, and she will be healed and saved from the destruction Satan planned for her. Jesus’ plans are much greater for her, and I am praying she one day understands this truth.

I am not writing this to show my prayer fortitude or raise a righteous flag. I am far from perfect. At one point in my life, I could have been in a complete mess like this woman. But God saved me from the destructive path of Satan. Satan planned to kill me, but Jesus came to give me a new life. My character is being built through the trials so that I can grow into the woman of God I am meant to be. It’s the little irritants that help me to have the right perspective. It’s by God’s grace I have been set free. I no longer have an identity crisis. I know who I am and whose I am. Yes, I still suffer from someone else’s sin. But it’s with grace that I take her suffering to the cross and ask for her suffering to end. God has this under control. I need not worry about what could be in my circumstances. I am securely in the palm of His hands. Whatever is allowed, I will endure it for His glory. My character is being renewed day by day. One day, I will see the goodness that the Lord has in store. My character witness will be Jesus Himself standing up for me either here on earth or in heaven one day. Good will come out of this! One day.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:8-9

Going Fishing

This past Christmas, I received an Earthing mat. If you haven’t heard of this before, it’s a product that helps us connect with the earth. We have gotten away from experiencing the energetic fields of the earth. Our ancestors roamed the earth, slept on the earth and were connected in ways that we no longer experience – which I admit I am glad for! However, we still have the need to get connected – hence the mat that is grounded. It’s a way to help with healing by the earth’s energy. Okay, I don’t know if it really works or not. But what I have experienced has been pretty amazing.

Normally, I sleep about seven hours with very little interruptions. Since I have had the mat and sleep with it under my feet or legs, I still sleep about the same amount. The one thing that has changed though is that I am dreaming like crazy. Every night I dream about friends that I haven’t seen in years. I have dreamed of my Mom which hasn’t happened in quite a while. Every time I wake up with someone on my mind, I pray for them (except for my Mom – she’s already where she needs to be!). I don’t know why my old friends have come up in my dream cycle, but there must be a reason for it, so I pray for them.

One morning, I woke up with an analogy on my mind. My friends were friends I had when I was far from God. I believe I had the blood of Jesus covering me during those years, but I didn’t have a fellowship with Him. During those years, I wasn’t a positive influence on these friends. The analogy was fishing. Peter was called to fish for men. This is our calling as well. I see a lake of fire that many are in. I also see people who don’t realize the water is getting warmer. It’s like frogs that are put in lukewarm water; the water gradually is warmed to the point of boiling. They get used to gradual increase, and they don’t realized they are being cooked to death. We are called to fish the people out of the lake of fire. This illustration stayed with me as I moved through my morning routine.

The ones I am dreaming about could very well be in that lake of fire. I didn’t have the influence for Jesus that I should have had when we were friends. I let them down. When I finally understood I was far from Him, I turned around and started the journey back. I wish I could say that I brought my friends with me, but I didn’t. I missed the chance while they were in my circle of influence. I would tell them today Jesus changes everything. He changed me. I know the lake is getting warmer, and they just don’t realize it. I know it isn’t up to me to save anyone. Jesus is the only one who can minister to their needs. If He wants to use me to help them out of the lake, I’m available!

When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon’s partners.

Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.” So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him. Luke 5:8-11

The Light

What our world would look like without Jesus? What would I look like if Jesus hadn’t come to save me? I have been pondering this question since Christmas Day. I can’t really tell you about my life before Jesus since I have known about Him all my life. However, I can you the difference when Jesus came fully into my heart. It’s when I started walking with Him. It wasn’t on the day of my salvation. I had that long before – whether you believe one can be saved and not actually live like it or not. I know my testimony of God calling me out of my pew that Sunday morning. I also know of His protection when I was walking on a different path than what I should have been as one of His children. I am much like the Israelites and their rebellion. They were still His people. He waited on them to repent. He waited on me too. I am so grateful for my patient God.

I love the story of the prodigal son (found in Luke 15). Demanding, selfish young man decided the grass was greener in the far country. He left and found out; life wasn’t better on the other side. The fun didn’t last. The friends weren’t the best. The community didn’t help him. And when he finally came to his senses, he turned around to go back home. That’s me! It took a few pegs to knock me down so I could finally look up. When I did, I finally saw God waiting on me to return with loving arms wrapping around me. It was His amazing grace that gave me a new start.

I am in another Beth Moore study; this one on the Songs of Ascent (Psalms 120-134). She was speaking in the DVD portion of the study about her remembrance of where she was before Jesus reached down to pull her out of her pit. She said “if we remember the bondage, then we must remember the grace; we will also have more grace to give to others.” It sounds like the story of the sinful woman (Luke 7:36-50) who wet the feet of Jesus with her tears and dried them with her hair. Jesus told the parable of two people owing money. One is forgiven a bigger debt than the other. The one with the biggest debt loves more than the other one. Grace and love are shown when we have received it for ourselves. Sometimes I forget where I was. Sometimes I need a reminder; I am the sinful woman who has been given the grace of forgiveness. My debt was high and Jesus paid it all.

Today, because Jesus has come, I am no longer living in darkness. Jesus came to bring light to the world. Without light, only darkness is present. I can see only because Jesus opened my eyes. Where would I have been if Jesus had not come? I would not be here writing these words. I would be right back in the pit of despair wondering how in the world I got there. I would not be in good health because I would still be drinking. I would be living in a very destructive lifestyle. If Jesus had not come, I would not be living with joy and hope of eternity. I would not have the friendships I have today. I would not have the relationship with my family. I would be living in sin with no hope of a future.

When Jesus came, everything changed. What condition are you in today? Do you need Jesus?

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. Romans 3:23-25

I written a couple more things about this subject in my monthly newsletter coming out on the first. If you would like to receive it go here to sign up.

Rebuilding

I have told of my struggles with my eye problem in previous posts. I have done all I have known to do to correct the problem. Recently, I discovered the reason of my eye problem. Dairy has always been a nemesis of mine, but I allowed it to creep back into my diet. When I stopped using my whey protein, I noticed my eye got better. When I was on my mission trip, my eye problem had gotten completely well. Then back at home, it flared up once again. I realized I had been taking probiotics while I was away too. I decided to start back on them; once again, I noticed a difference. So as I start my new year off, I have to put a rebuilding program into place. My temple has broken down, and the walls need to be repaired (intestinal walls that is)! As I was considering this line of thought, I recalled a sermon I heard on New Year’s Eve. The sermon was titled “Count on It” and was spoken by pastor Steven Furtick (Elevation Church). It was a powerful word for this coming year.

God has made some incredible promises in His word. The thing about God is: if He promises something, then He will bring it to pass! One of the promises of God concerned Solomon’s temple. He stated the temple would be rebuilt after it was destroyed by the Babylonians. The first temple was built by Solomon. The second temple (Ezra 3) was built on the old foundation, but it seemed to be less grand than the first (Ezra 3:12). But God said in Haggai 2, it was going to be better than the first. The look on the outside may not look the same, but the temple would be grander than the first because of God’s glory (vs 9). This promise was also fulfilled when Jesus came to earth. He fulfilled many promises in the Bible. Another promise was given that the Holy Spirit would come when Jesus ascended to heaven. The Holy Spirit fulfills the promise too that our temples will be grander when He comes to dwell in us.

My body is the place where the Holy Spirit resides. If my walls are broken down, then I need to rebuild from the foundation that is already in place. I need to shore up my spiritual walls. I want the Holy Spirit to be grander than previously experienced. God has promised me that the Holy Spirit will help me. I can count on it! I can count on His promises to be fulfilled. Awesome! As I am rebuilding, He is working the blessing for the glory of God to be even grander. “‘This Temple is going to end up far better than it started out, a glorious beginning but an even more glorious finish: a place in which I will hand out wholeness and holiness.’ Decree of God-of-the-Angel-Armies.”Haggai 2:9 (The Message)

I am so excited to think God is at work. As I am obedient to do the things I know to do, His glory is going to be grander. His seed has already been planted in me. I do not yet see all that He has in store, but His promise is to prosper, not harm. I can count on it!

“‘Now think ahead from this same date—this twenty-fourth day of the ninth month. Think ahead from when the Temple rebuilding was launched. Has anything in your fields—vine, fig tree, pomegranate, olive tree—failed to flourish? From now on you can count on a blessing.’” Haggai 2:18-19

And Peter

When I was in grade school, my church had an Easter play. I don’t remember much of it, but I do remember I played Peter’s part. Strange I know. I don’t know if I was assigned the role or I asked for it. I thought Peter was the best disciple. He was always right in the thick of things when it came to Jesus. He followed Jesus with his whole heart. He even got out of the boat as the storm was brewing to walk toward Jesus (Matthew 14). He had great faith or more so than all the others sitting in that boat. Jesus changed Peter’s name from Simon because Jesus was going to use him to build the church. Jesus said he was changing his name to Peter which means “the rock.” So naturally, I wanted to be Peter!

At my naivety, I don’t think I realized who Peter really was; his true nature. He was a man of action for sure. But he was a denier of Jesus. He did not have the concerns of God in mind. He thought he knew better what Jesus needed or wanted (Matthew 16-17). Peter was rebuked by Jesus probably more times than what is written in Scriptures. Yet, when Jesus rose again, the angels sent Mary Magdalene and the other women to the disciples and Peter (Mark 16:7). Jesus sought him out when Peter went back to fishing after Jesus had risen from the grave (John 21).

Peter was in a hard place. He was waiting on something to happen, but he just didn’t fully grasp the things of God. Jesus came to him while Peter was out fishing. Jesus waited for him to come ashore. And three times, Jesus asked Peter for his devotion. “Do you love me, Peter?” Peter answered you know all things, you know I love you. Jesus wanted Peter to know himself. Peter was probably wondering how all of it could have gone so wrong. Yet, Jesus wanted to reinstate Peter’s calling. Jesus asked Peter to “feed my sheep.”

Maybe I am more like Peter than I truly realize. So long I have been questioning my love and devotion to Jesus. I am waiting on something to happen but have no clue as to what God’s plan truly is for my life. I guess all I really need to be doing is the same that Peter was called to do – take care of His sheep. Yeah, Peter fell hard. So have I. Peter rushed ahead of God. So have I. Peter didn’t have the things of God in mind. Me either. I am not lost to God’s plan though. He has something amazing for me too. Not that I will be a rock for the church, but whatever my calling God has a place for me too. Me and Peter – maybe we’re like two peas in a pod after all. And maybe I will be as bold one day too.

“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. Matthew 16:15-18

Proven!

Many years ago, I received the gift of salvation. I was around eleven years old. It was on Easter Sunday. I did not understand everything that occurred that Sunday morning. I didn’t understand the budding relationship that happened. I know Jesus came into my heart. I know I heard the Holy Spirit speak into my heart to “Go!” The trouble is I didn’t change anything. However, I do believe I was covered with the blood of the Lamb. I believe God protected me just as He protected His children in Egypt as the angel of Death moved throughout Egypt. I know there were many times I was not walking as I should. But I had a moment in 1993, where I turned around. I saw I had moved far away from God. I had wandered away. It was not something that I had done intentionally. I just didn’t make wise choices. I never understood I couldn’t change on my own. I had the power of the Living God in me, but I didn’t know what that truly meant.

Since 1993, I started changing. It was a slow progressive step toward Jesus. I began the walk home. Today, I am vastly different from who I was in 1993. I am actually even different from who I was in 2012. I have a progressive growth attitude. It is intentional. I am intentionally seeking. I do not rest in my relationship but seek to be more like Jesus. Oh, I am still far from where God wants me, but I am so much further than I was. It is a process of change that began on the day Jesus came into my heart. I didn’t do what I should have done then, but the fruit is evident today. Jesus says we will know each other by our fruit. It’s a wonderful gift Jesus has given us. I am truly grateful for the new life He has given me. I am no longer a slave to my old sin nature. It’s dead to me – Praise God! When I am faced with the old me, I can simply say “I’m dead to that!”

I know I don’t handle all situations perfectly. But I know today that what happened when I was 11 has been proven in my life. I am changed. And I am still changing. I’m not done yet. God is still at work! The places where I stumble are less frequently on my path. I recognize those old roots and try to avoid them as much as I am able. It’s not by my strength but the One who lives in me. I know I cannot live this life without the Holy Spirit’s power. And it’s because of Jesus that I can say – I am CHANGED!

As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” 1 Peter 1:14-16

But God

Recently, I heard a sermon on hell. I haven’t heard a sermon on hell in forever. It wasn’t a “fire and brimstone” sermon as in the days of old. It was just a matter of fact spoken from God’s Word. It was the reality of eternal damnation. The feeling of the eternal ramifications of those who reject God is sorrow and pain in my heart. But also the gratefulness in my heart that is by God’s grace and mercy that I am His child through the blood of Jesus. I took the path of destruction so many years ago, but God turned my heart toward Him. But God – powerful words. God took my hand and led me back to the path of light. He turned me around and wouldn’t let me go any further down that dark wide road. It was my choice. I chose to change and receive His true gift of salvation through Jesus.

I know of others walking on that dark wide road. I don’t know if they will have a “but God” moment when God will turn them around. I know of many who think there is no hell. They don’t consider themselves to be lost and without hope. Even the demons believe in hell. In scripture, they begged Jesus not to cast them into hell, but send them into the pigs instead (see Luke 8:32). I have known a few who have already died and gone to the place where they now know exists. It’s too late for them. They cannot be saved. I am sure there are others who are ready to hear about God and the saving grace of Jesus’ blood.

Am I ready to tell them my testimony of how God changed my heart? When will I have that burden for my neighbors who may not know? When will I have the conversation with my family members who are not assured of salvation? Many are on the road to destruction and only a few will travel the narrow path. My heart longs to tell, but my mouth stays silent. I cannot let it any longer. Time is too short. Tomorrow is not a guarantee. I have today to open my heart and my mouth to those around me. But God will be with me. But God will never leave me nor forsake me. That’s the testimony of one who believes with all my heart that God lives in me and will speak the truth through me. God’s grace is sufficient to meet all my needs even when I open my mouth to tell my story.

Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.  But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. Matthew 7:13-14

The Other Side

I have a monthly newsletter that I write and send out.  This month (August), I wrote about swimming and my fear of it. The gist of that particular newsletter was about different water heights. The passage was on Ezekiel 47:5. The water that is over our heads is the water that can be crossed only by swimming. Only God can help us cross this water height. In the last paragraph of this article, I wrote: “There is something on the other side I now want to reach. God is waiting for me to wade in until it’s too deep for me alone. He is waiting to see if I have the faith to get my ankles wet, if I have the power and strength to wade further in than I have ever been before. I may be afraid of getting in over my head, but God will not let me drown. Just as a father takes the hand of his child, my God will take my hand and help me across.”

As I was finishing up with the last tweaks of the newsletter, I heard a sermon about the other side. This is the rest of the story. Jesus is on the bank of the Sea of Galilee, and he asks his disciples to cross over to the other side (Mark 4:35-5:20). Jesus had a reason to cross over to the other side. He went to help a man who was demon-possessed. Jesus crosses for one person who is lost. When the man with the legions of demons was healed, he wanted to go back with Jesus, but Jesus told him to “go home and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” In the parables of the lost sheep and coin found in Luke 15, Jesus says there is great rejoicing in heaven when one who is lost has been found.

There is a reason to get to the other side. Jesus pursues us individually. The other side has one person who is lost and needs Jesus. He wants us to cross over with Him. He didn’t go alone. The disciples were with Him. He uses our story of our crossing to bring others to Him. There is great rejoicing to be done. Praise the Lord for finishing the story.

The Lord had mercy on me. He found me and restored me. Someone crossed over to the other side for me. Now, I have a story to tell. How about you?

We give thanks to You, O God. We give thanks that Your name is near. Men tell about the great things You have done. Psalm 75:1 (NLV)

To read the newsletter, see my Facebook page at Denise4Health.

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