Monday, May 25, 2015

How Can It Be? That Josh Duggar Could Be Forgiven

Is anyone listening? I have some good news.

Even people who sin by sexually molesting another person can be forgiven.

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HOW CAN IT BE?


Because this is the very reason Jesus left his home in heaven, was born, and came to earth as a man. He lived a sinless life, died for ALL sins, took the punishment/penalty of ALL sins, was forsaken by God, descended into hell and with the power of the Holy Spirit he rose. He broke the chains and power of sins, death and hell.

He not only took on our sin, but he bore our shame. He rose to live and defeated the grave. This is so hard for the world to believe. People living in the world, who do not know who Jesus really is, have never known a love like this.

But this love is real. Jesus is real. His love for us is real, and available for anyone who accepts Jesus' sacrifice for his own sin.

So what does this have to do with the life story of Josh Duggar, his family and Christians? Everything!

EVIL AND GOOD


We are all capable of evil. Especially when God is absent in our life. The more distance we have from God the more capable we are of committing evil acts. Like Einstein explained, cold is the absence of heat, evil is the absence of GOD--because God is all good, and everything that is good is from God.

Obama became infamous for saying, "You didn't build that!" Well, he was right. Whether we give God credit or not, anything we do that is good is not because of us but because of God. He gives talents, abilities, wealth, health, strength, etc.

What is amazing is Jesus came to earth and died for us knowing how horrible we were, knowing what horrible things we would do. If and when we are forgiven of all of our past, present and future sins that we commit against God and all other people, we finally ask in amazement, "How can it be that God would do this for me?

I have heard lots of comments hurled toward Josh Duggar, his family and Christians, in general.

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SINS AND STONERS


I am startled at how far we have come and how little people know about God and his Word. Christians have been responding "He who has never sinned cast the first stone." And ignorant of God's Word, people claim, "I have never raped or molested a person, so I will throw the first stone." People honestly do not know what sin is anymore. During Jesus time, every man living in the city of the adulterous woman understood he was a sinner and one by one dropped the stones, but today we would actually have a crowd a people stoning Josh Duggar.

People, many who have probably been sexually violated or know someone who has, are revolted that a sexual molester could be forgiven. They don't want him to get away with what he has done; they don't think he can be repentant and changed to not be a lifelong sexual predator. They want his children taken away from him. They want him destroyed.

I totally understand their thinking.

In my twenties I was remembering and holding onto to all the abuse that happen to me and my siblings which included sexual rape. I declared I was not going forget until the guilty paid for what they did. I thought I was doing a good thing by remembering. I didn't know how much I was damaging my own soul and dragging the abuser around with me everywhere I went like a ball on a chain.

THE GREATER SINNER


A wise pastor asked me a question, "Who sinned more: your own father against you OR you against your heavenly father, God?" Everyone could ask themselves this question. Who has sinned more that person who has abused/violated you OR your personal sins against God for your entire life (and on into the future for the rest of your life)?

I knew the answer the pastor wanted to hear but in my gut I did not believe it. I was abused for 18 years; I was tortured, tormented, threatened, and damaged in every way imaginable, almost everyday of my life. If abuse was not happening to me it was happening to a sibling or my mother. HOW IS IT POSSIBLE? How could I be a greater sinner than my abusing father?

But the question was very specific, "Who sinned more: your own father against you (every single sin he ever committed against me personally) or my own sins for my entire life (since every sin committed is against God)?"

I went home and knelt beside my sofa and asked God to show me my sin. I was quiet and listened. God answered my prayer. Over and over, on and on, minute by minute, the mental reel of my sins began rolling before me. After an hour or so, I was weeping for God to stop showing me. I clearly saw what a sinner I was. Yes, my father had done some horrible things to me but in comparison to the quantity of sins I had committed against God up until I was in my late twenties did not even come close to my father's sins against me. I was clearly the greater sinner. I pleaded for God to forgive me.

Forgiveness and Freedom


And HE did! He forgave me of everything. He wiped all of my sins away. I was no longer guilty. I was free. I was forgiven. The chains of sin were broken. HOW CAN IT BE? God was willing to forgive me over and over, again and again. He loves me unconditionally and I can never out-sin God's ability to forgive.

So how could Josh Duggar possibly go on with life? How could he forgive himself? How could his sisters and the family friend's whose girls had been hurt forgive him? Don't miss the fact that a person must not only ask God to forgive them and to forgive others, but they must also forgive themselves. If God forgives, who are we to put ourselves above God, making ourselves out to be a god by not forgiving ourselves.

The answer is Jesus. Jesus did it all. Jesus makes it possible.

And I can hear the crowds cry out, "It's not fair! It's too easy. Punish HIM. Crucify Him. Don't forgive. Don't forget. He must pay."

Everyone will be held accountable by God. No one who sins gets away with it. Either the person asks God to forgive them by the fact that Jesus died on the cross for their sins, they repent and turn from the sin and deal with the consequences (some natural, some given by authorities) AND live their life for Jesus OR they will have to pay for the penalty of their sins at death with their life and live eternally separated from God in a place called hell (tortured and tormented for eternity). We are all answerable to God for our own sins.

Legalist, Hypocrites and Pseudo-Christians


Other people are crying out because they claim that Josh was raised too strict, as a legalist (following rules of religion), too sheltered, sexually repressed, and then he was out-spoken about others sinning. They claim that because Josh's family raised their children to not be sexually active it was the reason he molested the girls. They reason it has to be because they did not allow him to masterbate or watch sexual media he acted out against this strict upbringing. They claim since some of the adults associated with his family are known to be predators they could not possibly have given him good counsel or taken his actions seriously. They are furious that since he molested little girls when he was a young boy of 13 (barely a teenager) that he has no right to talk about what sin is, to claim that homosexual behavior and molestation/rape is wrong. They believe he should be disqualified for life from talking about sexual sin. Many even say his own children should be taken from him, that what he did as a young boy disqualifies him from being a good father and husband. 

They say all of this because they do not know GOD. They don't know the power of God to redeem what is destroyed, to restore what as stolen. They don't know that God can heal any hurt, take away any sin, keep people from sinning and restore relationships. I do not know Josh Duggar and I do not know the condition of his heart. I do not know the girls that were hurt and the condition of their heart, BUT I do KNOW God. He is able, willing and all-powerful. He is Jehovah-Rapha, The God Who Heals. God knows the heart and conditions of those involved in the Josh Duggar situation. He is Jehovah-El Roi, The God Who Sees.

The fact is Josh Duggar was targeted because he claims to be a Christian and is outspoken against Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals and Transgenders. He has put a target on his back, and Satan exposed Josh's sins of his boyhood to silence him and destroy him and his family. 

Being a legalist is not what God wants. He wants us to have a real relationship with Him, not to have us following a bunch of rules hoping by doing so to gain his favor and acceptance to heaven (it can't be done; it is not God's way). Being a hypocrite is not what God wants. Jesus spoke the harshest to hypocrites of his time that happen to be religious leaders who were legalist following their own manmade rules instead of God commandments in the Bible. Being a pseudo-Christian is not what God wants, and America has way too many false Christians. People who claim the name of Christian but who do not live the life of being a follower of Jesus. Jesus LOVED the sinner, but hated the sin, therefore, we are to love the sinners and hate the sins.

Photo Credit: Mindasr at DevientART


WHAT does God Want?

So I have listed everything that God does not want. What does he want? 

He wants to love us. He wants a relationship with you and me. He wants us to talk to Him and to know Him. We do this by praying, listening and reading the Bible. He wants us to watch out and guard our own heart against temptations to sin. Each of us are tempted by our own version of sin. We have to set up boundaries in life to keep ourselves from falling into sin. He wants us to depend on Him, to trust Him and to yield our will to His desires. He wants us to believe that He has a good plan for our life and we simply need to obey Him. He wants us to be filled up with the Holy Spirit to be able to walk by faith and not by sight.

Of course, this is much easier stated then done. It takes great discipline and being still before God allowing Him to fill us up with His supernatural power to live strong spiritual lives instead of acting out on our fleshly pleasure-filled wants. This is how "spiritual leaders" get tripped up; they start believing that they built their church and their organization; they soak up the adoration of followers and live lofty lives instead of adoring God and taking care of the poor and needy.

So, How can it be? How can Josh or anyone like him be forgiven? God sent His son Jesus to live and die for our sin; He caused Him to rise again. Jesus lives and is ready, wanting us to forgive us and love us.

If you want to know more about God, you might enjoy this article post on Real Hope or I Choose to Forgive or Show Me My Sin or Is There Someone You need to Forgive?

Monday, May 18, 2015

A Mother's Prayer for Her Unbelieving Child - Psalm 91

Psalm 91 is an amazing chapter in the Bible.


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This psalm can be used for so many circumstances in life as a prayer to God for help. I am going to convert the words of this psalm into a prayer for a unbelieving child. In my mother's heart, I am praying this for my son. It is painful to witness a child who choses the wide, sinful road when he has been brought up in Biblical training to know and love God. But the Bible teaches that the good news of Jesus does not alway fall on the soil of a soul that is willing to let it take root and grow. As a mother I hold dear to many promises, that God's Word does not go void.

I am praying this Psalm for my son. If you need to pray for your child, join me in agreement in prayer for our wayward children.



Father God,

You say that he that dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I pray for my son that he may learn to see you as his place of safety and rest where his soul can securely dwell. May he come to know you as His Most High God and take pleasure in the comfort under your Almighty shadow.

As his mother I pray over him this Psalm, as a cover over him, "Be his refuge and his fortress, dear God; become Him who he will trust." 


In his unbelief, he choses not to trust in you but I pray that you will find ways to show yourself to him. Help him to see that YOU alone are is his refuge, his fortress in whom he should trust. I long for the day that he cries out to you "My God!" and today and everyday forward I praise you for bringing him to you, and answering my prayer.

Surely Lord you shall deliver him from the snare of the fowler and the noisome pestilence. As my son is foolishly choosing to disregard the caution we taught him as a child, in your mercy protect him from himself, but allow him to suffer the consequences that will bring him to the end of himself. When you deem appropriate cover him with your feathers that under your wings he shall learn to trust you. I pray that your truth will become his shield and wrap around him your Holy Word as His protection. Oh, for the day that he loves your Word and knows it as truth!

As my son chooses to walk into the terror of the night and the arrows that fly by him each day, I pray that he remembers that in You he does not need to ever be afraid. For the pestilence that walks in darkness and the destruction that waits for him at noonday, may he be protected according to your wisdom because you alone know what he must endure before he will turn to you. I also ask that you keep him from harming other dear souls that you love so much, protect those who in his selfishness that he is willing to use and take advantage of.

Photo Credit: Roots of Love by Escaped Emotions DeviantART


I pray that as 1,000 fall by his side and 10,000 at his right hand, you will not let this unnecessary harm come near him. Open his eyes that he can behold and see the reward of the wicked and may this cause him to wake up and turn to you. Also, in his ignorance and naivety keep him from following people who walk in wickedness. Help him to see the true motives of people he currently esteems as friends. Bring him to his point of need and spare his life that one day he may serve you with all of his heart for your eternal kingdom work.

When we make you our Lord, you are our refuge, the Most High, our habitation. I rejoice looking forward to the day that my son calls you Lord and allows you to be his habitation. Because in you, no evil shall fall on him and neither shall any plague come near where he lives. Have mercy on him, during these wanton days of his life. As I pray over him, shield him from evil and plagues that the enemy of his soul has planned for him to experience. I ask that no weapon formed against him shall prevail.

Give your angels charge over him, to direct him into your ways. Allow them to bear him up that in his folly he will not be dashed against a stone. Give Angels the ability to protect him supernaturally from the dangers desired by the enemy of his soul.


As the demons like a lion roam seeking whom they can devour and the adder seeks one whom they can lie to, I pray that you will shield him from the enemy who is targeting him. May he learn that it is by you he will be able to trample under foot, the young lion and the dragon.

Oh, God, it is my heart cry that my son will set his love upon you and that you will deliver him from himself and his wrong, wicked choices, that you will be able to set my son on high because he knows your name calls upon you as the one he loves.


I praise you and thank you God for I know the day is coming that my son shall call upon you and you will answer him. You will be with him in time of trouble, and you will deliver him and honor him. May my son have a long life satisfied by you alone. Show him your salvation. Speak to him through people, in dreams, experiences and ways I could not even fathom but you in your wisdom and loving creativity will set forth and bring to pass.

Of course, in my mother's heart, I want his salvation to come quickly, but as your maid-servant I say "not my will, but yours" trusting that your timing is perfect.

Thank you Lord for hearing my prayer, and thank you for all the saints who are joining me in agreement in this salvation prayer for my son.

I thank you for your word. I that can pray it back to you in behalf of my son knowing it is your perfect will and therefore you will hear my prayer and it will please you to answer it. I love you Lord.

In the name of Jesus and by the blood of Jesus I pray.



Monday, May 11, 2015

Are You a Human Punching Bag or Do you Throw the Punches?

Let me begin by saying you should never allow yourself to be a human punching bag, either physically, emotionally or verbally. We should treat ourselves with dignity and expect others to treat us kindly also.

Photo Credit: Punched by Dreaminit DeviantArt


I have three different blogs. Sometimes I have a hard time figuring out which one I should post an article. Although most of the time I do not since each serves a unique purpose. This is my life blog. It is general and is about what I experience or learn as I walk through what I long ago called "womanhood".  In another one of my blogs I only write articles/posts that are about PTSD/Abuse/Trauma and healing from severe child abuse that I lived through for 18 years and many adult years after. And a final one is the one I like to call raw; it is a rambling of thoughts or inner feelings that are not well filtered; it is purposely a view behind the inner veil, my naked self at some of my most vulnerable moments.

I am in the process of working on my personal website to have a place to combine the location for these three and to add a few other things. This past Sunday my Pastor that I dearly love made a comment about people who have their own personal website; he was speaking of pastors in specific who use them to bring attention to themselves or possibly glory instead of it going to God. For a moment it made me question whether I should have a website with my own name on it; I say for a moment because I know God created me to be a writer; Words run through me as the blood pumps through my veins; if I had no way to communicate my head would probably explode with all the ideas running through it. Writing has often been my lifeline. In my weakest moments I write. But it is also my strength. In my best moments I write as I reflect on what God is doing or has done.

Some people are born speakers, musicians, artist, designers, etc. for me I am a writer. I do think if I was a man I would strongly want to be a preacher. I would love to give a sermon every Sunday. It is so exciting to read God's Word to grow with Him and learn as much as you can about what He says and then to share that with people. I truly believe God gave the office of Pastor to men, that doesn't mean a woman can't teach or speak to the church, even in a Sunday service. It does mean that as the husband should be the head of the household loving his wife as Jesus loves the church, that the Pastor of the church should be a man representative loving the body of his church. God does gender; He has roles for males, females and children.

Photo Credit: The Fight by Snapshotsequence DeviantART


I was recently told this:
You like.most self.proclaimed Christians are some of the most judgmental, condescending and shallow individuals I have ever known. Disrespectful to call yourself a follower of Christ. You embody none of His faith, mercy, love, grace nor consideration, especially for those who know what you have allowed and turned your back on in this lifetime. Cast your stones. I don't chose to have your dysfunctional and depressing relationship as part of my life. Find your peace but I won't be your punching bag.
It is not the first time and I am quite sure it will not be the last that I will be accused in such a way by a person. Of course I allow this to be filtered through by God, His Word and faith. Thankfully, I know that because I am a follower of Jesus I am a work in progress, not perfected or completed. I rest in this truth regularly. Certainly, I am many times not a good model of Jesus. I need ever so desperately to learn to speak truth in mercy and love. I get in more trouble than most, though, because I do speak the truth. It is hard for me to bite my tongue when a glaring lie or hypocrisy is being spoken or taking place before my eyes.

When words are filtered in by God's grace, we can learn. As my Pastor also said this weekend we can take in what we need or what is truth and throw the bones out.

For anyone who has ever felt that I treated you like a punching bag, I am sorry. I do know that I have times when I have trouble letting things go or being left unsaid. I need to grow in letting God be the gatekeeper of my mouth and to be SLOW to speak. You might think this is funny but I have literally applied duck tape over my mouth so I would not response in a negative way or in anyway to one of my children when he/she was speaking; it solved the deep urge to speak or reply. I think I mumbled under the tape.

If it was not for Grace, I would have been cast out of God's kingdom long ago. I am so thankful that God is the one that accepts us as a Christ follower and He even keeps us. 


It may not seem like it but I am sealed by the Holy Spirit; He amazingly lives within me; I am a temple of God. So I am grateful when less of "lindy" shines through and more of God is able to touch people's lives. The Bible does teach "less of me and more of him" though I think we often enjoy "more of me and less of him;" interestingly, I am trying to embrace more of him and more of "me" as God created me to be. Each of us are unique and purposely created to be a glorious example of His divine image.

More times than I like to remember, I have been cast aside as a dysfunction part of someone's life. 


It is good to not allow someone to treat you as a human punching bag. So I accept this fate, losing people, as part of life now. It used to sting more but after happening so many times the pain of loss is dull. (that sounds so uncaring) Yet, interestingly almost all of the people who cut me off for a season, have become a part of my life again. The relationship is not the same but there is a mutual love and deeper appreciation of one another. The daily or weekly sharing and kindred close following of our inner lives has been lost; trust is a hard thing to re-establish; still, we do love and are thankful for each other in a different permanent way. Of course, several people have cast me off and never glanced back but the truth of those relationships is that there really was not one in the first place; we never made it to friendship.

Photo Credit: by Shinoki DeviantArt


Relationships are fragile unless you have a commitment, a vow, like I do with my precious husband of 31 years. I am very grateful for God giving me a life-mate that would not include the "d-word" (divorce) in his vocabulary. He truly did marry me for better or worse, richer or poorer, until death we do part. That is an unconditional gift of love from one person to another because as people we are fumbling around trying to do the best we can with the life we have been given.

Thank you for listening.

Allow yourself to be cherished. Let those who mistreat you walk away or if necessary you be the one to walk away and shut the door. God wants us to love others and we can't do this if we are being torn down or picked apart on a regular basis. We need to let God fill us up with His love and acceptance and don't look at releasing painful relationships as something bad. It is good for the season until the other person grows in grace. And of course, you will grow also.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Daily Prayer - Reading and Writing with the Bible

For me, daily prayer takes a lot of energy to be still and know that He is God. I do not think I am alone, but that does not make it better. I am easily distracted like a butterfly I flitter from on thought to the next. I see something dazzle or that looks interesting and I am drawn.

Photo Credit: Glimmer by Goldomega on DeviantArt


Since I love to read and write, I find focusing on Scripture so much easier when I have a pen and journal or my laptop open to write down what I am thinking and learning. I could read like this for hours and get totally lost in the experience.

Yet, it is not the same think as experiencing a relationship with God.

That hard, bold fact pierces my heart and makes me want to cry, but for who? Myself or God?

I am cheating myself out of the pleasure of being still and knowing Him. Am I a fraud? I wonder, since I would claim to have a relationship with Jesus, even if it meant I would be put to death. Then I am reminded of grace, GRACE that covers my weaknesses while I am still be molded and completed by God, GRACE that goes further than I could ever go and makes me pleasing in God's sight, regardless.

Ah, yes, Grace. So misunderstood by those who don't believe, as a crutch for fake believers, but truly the only hope true believers have to please God. What I cannot do, Christ does for me! What I lack, He is. Where I fall short, He makes it full. It is not me, but HE. And then, I properly reflect on really who I am instead of pretending to be what I am not. Yet at the same time I know because of HIM, I am holy in the sight of God, righteous by His covering, and pleasing for my childlike feeble trying.

What a paradox we Believers and Followers of Christ live! More of Him comes by less of me. The greater my weakness, the more of His strength lives through me. In my weakness, He is strong. By reducing, He increases. The less I think of me, the more I have space to think of Him. (John 3: 30, 2 Corinthians 12:8-10)

So, what shall I do, I will walk by faith and in grace. Not blind faith but faith that sees, that has "assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen" (Hebrews 11:1).

So now that I have written, let me try to be still and know that HE is my God (Psalms 46:10). I am loving "The Pleasure of HIS Company" by Dutch Sheets to assist me during this season.