… know your place

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I love this promise. I love how it communicates that God will always respond to us.

The entire scripture says “Come near to God and He will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts you double minded.”

At first read, that sounds so harsh! But, then, I hear the grace and forgiveness in it.

I hear God telling me that I don’t have to clean myself up before coming to Him. His grace allows me to do step away from the world and focus on Him.

The entire chapter this verse is pulled from is setting us Christians straight. And, I love it.

James, the author of this book, shows us who we truly are but doesn’t leave us feeling beaten up about our sinful nature but offers us hope in the goodness, grace, & security of God.

Verse 7 tells us to step away from wickedness then verse eight tells us to draw close to God THEN clean ourselves up. Why?

Because he knows how far sin can pull us away from our Father. He knows how vulnerable we are when we are separated and he knows that we can’t clean ourselves up a part from the grace God offers us in His presence.

This promise, this verse should give our spirits rest. It should urge us to go back humbly before The Lord knowing that our sins will be tossed as far as the east is from the west. That our God will always welcome us back and lift us back up.

He will comfort us, and quiet us with His love. He will take us back and lift up our heads never allowing our sins to define us or shame us- for there is no condemnation in Him.

Even if our distance isn’t caused by immobilizing sin but a busy schedule where we haven’t carved out precious moments to be spent with our Savior, illness, or exhaustion – He is still always there. Waiting to restore, heal, and revitalize us.

God is good to us.
Even when we aren’t so good to Him.

And, isn’t it amazing and reassuring to know that no matter what the cause or circumstances of our distance, He is always there. He never turns His back on us. He never leaves us or forsakes us. His grace only abounds that much more.

Could we love like He does? He shows us what true forgiveness and love looks like and expects us to treat others in the same manner.

But, are we willing to?
Would it be easier to forgive and embrace another when you realize how much you (a sinful being) have been forgiven for and recognize HOW you were embraced by your (perfect creator &) Father upon your request for forgiveness & reconciliation? A request you desire to be answered in the affirmative no matter how often you ask?

That perspective will remind you of who you are and what you deserve. This scripture will remind you of who God is and what He deserves.

He is good.

… here’s to a God who shows us how to love and forgive unconditionally with great grace.

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… shining moments

The ultimate regret – behavior outbursts.
……. Or,acting in a way contradictory to your beliefs and having to swallow it when it’s thrown back in your face.

You know the times when you speak or act in frustration or even when others don’t feel that you’re living up to your beliefs.

On one hand, it’s a hard bit to swallow.

On the other, it’s a moment to reflect and acknowledge a few things:
1. You aren’t perfect
2. Jesus had full disclosure of who you were, are, and would be when He chose you to be a part of His people
3. The imperfections you know you have don’t make Jesus’ truths any less true.

We all stumble and make horrific judgement calls and says the worst things at the worst times, but you know what – they’re mistakes we use to grow.

They’re mistakes that spark conversations (that hopefully don’t turn into arguments) that give us the opportunity to show the same forgiveness that our God’s shows us moment by moment.

These less than stellar moments of ours bring about opportunities to practice humility, the art of understanding anther’s perspective, and taking responsibility for our actions.

And, once all of this is done ……. We are given the opportunity to come back together after the dissension our selfishness caused.

Because aren’t most of our “behavior outbursts” rooted in our ego? In something that begins with “I…..” or “My….” ….. Owie. Yes!
We are so welcome to own our feelings, thoughts, and opinions but we should never be okay with harming/ruining a relationship.

Back to it, I was sidetracked……

I challenge us all to remain strong and courageous when speaking the truth of God and allowing it to speak for itself.

Take responsibility for your actions with humility and grace, but don’t let your missteps and those who attempt to discredit you by pointing them out, make you feel as if aren’t able to do what you’re led to do.

Don’t be fooled into thinking that you have to be perfect at all times in order to speak on any and all things Christian. It’s your humility and transparency in your “humanness” that lets people know that we are just as fallible & prone to mistakes as anyone else – our errors are just covered by the blood of our Savior.

Isn’t that something to rejoice in? To be glad about?

We’re able to walk in freedom no matter what we’ve done because of our Jesus’ death.

Trust and embrace that. Live there.
And, allow that truth and every trait and characteristic of Christ that led Him to the cross change you. Understanding who He is and what He’s done for you by His death & resurrection will have you viewing the world and those around you differently.

Including yourself.
I don’t know what you have going on, but I have got to learn to ease up on myself…. To not take myself too seriously…. That everything will not be perfect, that I can put my all on the table and walk away proud. To forgive myself and not allow the past to haunt me.

Our God is a redeemer and He makes all things new.

The broken, embarrassing, and destructive things/relationships can be redeemed and renewed in His perfect timing.

You acted out. I acted out. We completely embarrassed ourselves and feel horribly about it – cool. Apologize, ask for forgiveness, and lets keep moving.

…. here’s to giving our pasts to a God who gave us a get out of jail free card before we realized we needed it.

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