There’s nothing more disappointing than spending your hard-earned money watching a bad movie. You know the one. You keep sitting there, moment by moment, hoping that it will take an exciting spin and make it all worthwhile, but it never happens! You walk out of the theater feeling robbed of your time and your money.
I’ve watched more movies like that over the years than I would care to mention. However, my top picks this year have never been shown at the box office. These vivid documentaries have showcased in the hidden theater of my mind starring "ME." Titles include: Keeley's Ultimate Failures, Keeley's Hilarious Shortcomings, and Keeley's Monumentally Bad Decisions.
Revelation 12:10 says that Satan is the “accuser of the brethren.” Ron Howard or Steven Spielberg couldn’t hold a candle to the directorship of the devil. He could win Oscars with his artful mastery to detail and sobering special effects. Each frame is crafted to remind you of how pathetic you are. His movies don’t win awards though. They cripple your heart.
Romans 3:23 says “For ALL have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.”
If you’re human, you’ve missed it and probably missed it a whole lot. I completely understood that and had no problem forgiving others for their mistakes. When it came to me, I had a hard time letting myself off that easily. Making myself "pay" by constant guilt, condemnation, and yes, watching those hideous movies over and over again seemed to be a fair penance for my wrong doings!
Mark 11:24-25 says “What things you desire when you pray, believe that you receive them and you shall have them. And when you stand praying, FORGIVE, if you have ought against any, that your Father in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.”
The qualifier in successfully communicating with God in prayer is FORGIVENESS. Unforgiveness HINDERS your prayers. It creates a barrier between you and God.
Did you ever think that the person you were holding out on was YOURSELF? It’s just as wrong not to forgive yourself and to harbor ill will and animosity against yourself as it is not to forgive someone else. If you continually meditate on “I’m such a failure, I’ve made such a mess of my life, I'm not a good parent, Why did I make that financial decision, Why did I say that to that person, I'll never amount to anything worthwhile, etc” you’ll have a very hard time breaking free from the past and allowing God to bring blessing into your life.
Isaiah 43:25 says “I—yes, I alone—will blot out your sins for my own sake and will never think of them again.”
When we ask God to forgive us of our sins, not only does he blot them out, he doesn’t even remember them anymore! If God himself doesn’t even think about our sins again, why on earth do we beat ourselves up playing them over and over again in our heads? It is useless!
So, I have found it best to put my past mistakes where they belong – not just behind me, but abolished and destroyed, never to be remembered. I ask God to forgive me, ask others to forgive me, and I forgive MYSELF. If Satan’s movies start to play, I’m not going to get the popcorn and take a seat. I will just say “No devil, I’m not watching that anymore. I’ve been forgiven and I refuse to be crippled by that situation any longer. Now get out of here, in Jesus name.” It almost sounds too simple but that’s God for you. He does all the hard work and we just do the trusting.
Are YOU ready for the best year yet? I truly believe 2011 will be an exciting turning point! Forgive others AND forgive yourself, and see what God will do!
Saturday, October 2, 2010
I've been reading about the temple lately and the sacrifices that took place there on a daily basis. The temple was an incredibly beautiful place and full of splendor. I can hardly imagine all of the gold and ornate objects used for temple worship. However, the temple wasn't like a museum that you file through and gawk at how pretty everything is. It was a very busy place with many workers as constant sacrifices were going on day and night. Think about the day to day activities: killing animals, tons of blood, chopping up huge pieces of meat, hauling wood to start endless fires, breathing smoke in the air, weird smells, constant clean up, attention to safety issues (think of all the grease and blood you could slip on), and maintaining order while attending to all the people's sacrifices.
In all the busyness, everyone had to abide by the Levitical laws in the sacrifices. This was a serious matter and believe me, they weren't having round table discussions on how to cut corners for speedier sacrificial processes! These temple positions were sacred but they came with an incredible amount of responsibilities. Most of the responsibilities were very non-glorious and bottom line, were a bunch of work! Yet in God's eyes, these tasks were holy, set apart, and absolutely necessary to cover the sins of those who came to worship.
Most Kingdom jobs can seem somewhat mundane and routine. I've been in ministry since I was 15 years old, and it is always interesting to see enthusiastic new Christians who want to get involved in helping at the church. Sometimes their zeal wanes when you ask them to fold bulletins an hour before church starts. They are surprised to see that there are a lot of "regular tasks" that have to be done in order for the ministry to effectively operate. Ezekiel 44:23 says "there is a difference between what is holy and what is common." Many times we get off track thinking that the seemingly common things we are doing for God don't mean much but in reality, they are HOLY. Making those calls to ask for Fall Festival volunteers is holy. Making those copies for Children's Church is holy. Creating that phone list in Excel or sending that mass email for an upcoming event is holy. When you empty that trash can, replenish the paper towels in the bathroom, or make that pot of coffee for the ladies meeting, that's holy. Making a meal for that couple with the new baby is holy. Changing that diaper in the nursery is stinky but it is HOLY.
Ministry is a whole lot more than standing up on stage and sharing the Word of God. That is just the tip of the iceberg. In ministry, there's a whole lot more brooms to hold than microphones. As a Bible student, Pastor Kenneth Hagin used to tell us that ministry is spelled W-O-R-K and I have found that to be true. So if you get the honor to hold a broom or a microphone for God, just know that what you're doing is absolutely necessary in the process of seeing people come to Christ. What you do really counts in God's eyes!
Thursday, April 29, 2010
I've had marvelous opportunities lately to fight unbelief, loneliness, frustration, and fear. God reminded today of his faithfulness. As I drove down the road a bright red cardinal flew across the front of my van. I smiled as that one little bird brought up a wellspring of faith.
I thought back about 10 years ago when I was experiencing a very down time. Although I always knew the Lord was with me, I desperately needed a tangible sign that He had heard my prayers. I asked him to please send a cardinal to my tiny back yard that day to confirm His presence in my life. I had never even seen a cardinal in that area before but I dared to ask. A couple of hours later, I was washing dishes and I looked out the window. Hopping across the grass was the most beautiful cardinal I had ever seen. I just dropped to my knees and cried because God had shown himself to me.
Fast forward about 7 years, I was going through another hard time. We were on the brink of losing our home and we could not see a way out. After getting the kids off to school one morning, I headed out to the back porch, sat at the patio table and read my Bible. I began to pray and then I lowered my head and began to sob. I must have been crying for 5-10 minutes and then I heard a loud "tweet tweet." I lifted up my head and on the tree branch right above my head were THREE cardinals standing in a row! I immediately stopped crying and just began to laugh. I KNEW without a shadow of a doubt that God would bring us through and HE DID!
Many times I have had stressful situations and I would look out and see a cardinal or a cardinal would fly beside my car. It's kind of like God's little sign to me. It's his way to say, "Hey, I'm thinking about you today. I love you. It's going to be okay. I'm with you." He showed me that again today. He is so good to me!