Aug 19, 2013

Monday SHINE....

Reading Plan for the week of 8/19-8/25:

  • Monday 8/19:  Psalms 46-48
  • Tuesday 8/20: Psalms 49
  • Wednesday 8/21:  Psalms 50
  • Thursday 8/22: Psalms 51
  • Friday 8/23:  2 Samuel 1
  • Saturday 8/24:  2 Samuel 2, 3
  • Sunday 8/25:  2 Samuel 4:1-5:16

Happy Monday, SHINE girls. I sure hope your weekend was wonderful!

If you live here in Georgia, it was probably full of RAIN and COLD. Not my favorite kind of weather, but I enjoyed extra indoor time with my peeps. ;)

We are on Day 15 of our 40 Days of Prayer. How are y'all doing with this?

I have to admit, I fell off the prayer wagon a little this weekend. However, I am back on that wagon today and fully committed to riding it out another 25 days! Why would I not pray??

Prayer brings peace. Prayer brings wisdom. Prayer brings stillness. Prayer brings answers.

Can I be really honest and tell you one reason I think we don't pray sometimes? Please don't hate me after saying this....

We need to forgive someone.

I believe our little hearts can be so wrought with this lack of forgiveness, that it separates us from our Father.

If you know me personally, you know this has played a big part of my faith walk with Christ. I was separated from the Lord for several months a couple of years ago, because of this very thing going on in my heart.

It was the deepest, darkest, time in my life.

Holding a grudge and holding back forgiveness separates us from hearing from Him, or feeling His Peace. Oh, don't get me wrong, He's still there, but He wants us to know that He's not okay with our heart condition. He wants us to search Him, seek Him, and cleanse ourselves from this sin.

I'm not a psychologist, and far from it. However, I know that we can do a couple of things when we are angry and hold a grudge.

  • We withhold our love.
  • We lash out in anger.
  • We build an impenetrable wall.
  • We bottle up the hurt, and it destroys us.

My thing in the past has been the first withhold my love.

The funny thing is, the only person I end up hurting is myself. Instead of lashing out in anger, I punish in other ways. Like being distant.

It's a cruel and vicious cycle we find ourselves in when we act in any of these ways towards others.

It's a way of self-protecting, I think.

We want to make sure we are not hurt again. We want to guard our hearts and keep anything out that can possibly damage it.

God showed me one day on my back porch, tears staining my cheeks, that the only way to truly forgive is to Love.

"Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, 
since love covers a multitude of sins."
1 Peter 4:8

He told me to pour all that hurt back out in Love, and my heart would return back to Him. Back to the soft and tender heart that He intends me to have.

Girls, this is the only way to free our hearts from the tangled web of holding a grudge. The only way.

Just a few months ago, I felt that same ping of needing to forgive.

My flesh went into defense mode, and I immediately decided I did not want to be around this person. I wanted to separate myself from them and think of every reason I could to alienate them from my life.

This makes me cringe to even write.

My heart was in the wrong place.

Then the Lord gently nudged me and told me to pray for this person. Not only to pray for them but to love them.....more. 

To forgive them, completely.

Praying for them was the only thing that healed the wound, my friends. It doesn't even make sense, but it works.

"Love your enemies, and pray for those that persecute you." 
Matthew 5:44

This is certainly not what the world teaches. This is what God teaches. This is what He have to do in order to be followers of Christ, and to receive the fruit of His Presence, and His Peace.

When I was struggling with forgiveness a couple of years ago, on my back porch,  He showed me this verse..

"Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life,
to mind your own business,
and to work with your hands"
1 Thessalonians 4:11

I didn't understand what it meant at first. "Lead a quiet life??" What does this have to do with forgiveness.

Oh, everything.

My mind was anything but quiet as I rehashed the hurt over and over. I would practice in my head what I would say to this person and how I could make them hurt back.{yes, cringing again}

He told me to quiet my mind, quiet my life, mind my own business, and to stay busy with other things---like my precious little family.

I was jolted back into place.

My mind had been consumed with this hurt, and peace was nowhere to be found.

When I quieted my mind with His Love, with His Word, and with prayer, everything changed.

I began praying for this person. Every. Single. Day.

God healed my heart. Completely.

As we go into this new week, let's be intentional to pray for those around us that we need to forgive.

It may be one person, it may be many people.

Maybe the wound is still fresh, maybe the wound is decades old.

It doesn't matter, just pray.

Pray, pray, pray, this week.

And forgive, this week.

Only through the strength of Christ are we able to pray for those who have hurt us. He then allows forgiveness to flood our little hearts, and the peace of Christ fills us.

"You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, 
whose thoughts are fixed on you"
 Isaiah 26:3

Aren't we glad He is able? Oh, He is so able.

Be ready for some ice to melt around that heart of yours.

You will feel the warmth of His Peace, and you will never want it to leave you again.

"For if you forgive others their trespasses, 
your heavenly Father will also forgive you,
 but if you do not forgive others their trespasses,
 neither will your Father forgive your trespasses."
Matthew 6:14-15

praying and forgiving this week,


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