Friday, May 25, 2018

When You Can't Forgive Yourself

Do you have trouble forgiving yourself for a past wrong?

For years, I beat myself up for both major and minor infractions. Both sins of commission (when I actively did wrong) and sins of omission (when I didn’t do right things) haunted me.

I grew up in the church and knew the Bible well. Yet forgiving myself often felt impossible, especially for sins that changed the path of my life.

If you struggle with forgiving yourself, meditate on this portion of Psalm 103 with me. We’ll look at how to apply it to our lives after we read it through, slowly and thoughtfully.

Psalm 103:6-17a NLT

The Lord is merciful and gracious;
He is slow to get angry and full of unfailing love.
He will not constantly accuse us,
nor remain angry forever.
He has not punished us for all our sins,
nor does he deal with us as we deserve.
For his unfailing love toward those who fear him
is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth.
He has removed our rebellious acts
as far away as the east is from the west.
The Lord is like a father to his children,
tender and compassionate to those who fear him.
For he understands how weak we are;
he knows we are only dust.
Our days on earth are like grass;
like wildflowers, we bloom and die.
The wind blows, and we are gone—
as though we had never been here.
But the love of the Lord remains forever
with those who fear him.

If you struggle with forgiving yourself, meditate on this portion of Psalm 103 for healing.

How Psalm 103 Helps You Forgive Yourself

You can learn to forgive yourself by remembering these key points in Psalm 103.
God is slow to get angry.
You may be angry at yourself for sinning, but God isn’t, if you have turned to him in repentance. He is patient and kind, willing to forgive. His unfailing love covers your sin, because Jesus died for you.
God is not your accuser.
Do you sometimes hear accusing words in your heart or mind? They aren’t being spoken by God. The enemy tries to steal and destroy, keeping you mired in the past with accusations. The Bible calls him an accuser, but names God as your Deliverer.
God is not punishing you.
If you have accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you no longer live under sin’s condemnation. God’s unfailing love is far greater than the damages of your sin. You may have to live with the consequences of a bad decision, but they aren’t meant as punishment. They are natural results of living in a sinful world. God offers mercy, discipline, and grace instead of punishment to his followers.
God has removed your sins.
As far as the east is from the west, God has removed your sins from you. They no longer have power over you! Praise Jesus for his ultimate sacrifice which makes that removal possible. Choose to believe that since God has taken your sins that far away, you can do the same for yourself.
God sees you as a beloved daughter.
He offers tenderness and compassion to you because you are precious to him. You can call him your Daddy, because he loves you so much. Turn to him for comfort during your forgiveness process.
God knows your limitations.
Your sins are no surprise to God. He understands your sinful human nature, which will always be a part of you until your last day on earth. He knows your struggles. He also knows you won’t battle with them forever, because you are promised an eternal life free from sin when you believe in him.
God’s love reigns over your life.
If you learn nothing else from Psalm 103, remember that God’s love remains with you forever when you follow him.  Nothing else in your life will last forever, but God’s love for you will last that long. Basking in his love can help you love yourself the way God commands. 

The key to forgiving yourself? Learning to accept God’s love and forgiveness for yourself. As you remind yourself daily that you are forgiven by the Lord God Almighty, you will grow in grace and kindness toward yourself. One day, you’ll be able to lay your burden down for good.

Have a wonderful week!

Blessings and God's peace to you,

Photo from

Reflection questions:

  1. What place in your heart needs forgiveness the most?
  2. What can you do differently today to forgive yourself for a past wrong?

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Memorial Day...

by Debi Baker

Originally observed on May 30th of each year beginning in 1868, "Decoration Day" was observed to honor originally honored only those lost while fighting in the Civil War. Evolving to eventually commemorate American military personnel who died in all wars, in 1968 Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, which established Memorial Day as the last Monday in May in order to create a three-day weekend for federal employees; the change went into effect in 1971. The same law also declared Memorial Day a federal holiday.

"Despite the increasing celebration of the holiday as a summer rite of passage, there are some formal rituals still on the books: The American flag should be hung at half-staff until noon on Memorial Day, then raised to the top of the staff. And since 2000, when the U.S. Congress passed legislation, all Americans are encouraged to pause for a National Moment of Remembrance at 3 p.m. local time. The federal government has also used the holiday to honor non-veterans—the Lincoln Memorial was dedicated on Memorial Day 1922. And, while its origins have little to do with fallen soldiers, the Indianapolis 500 has certainly become a Memorial Day tradition of its own–this year marks the 102nd time the race will be run to coincide with the holiday."1

What saddens me is that so many of us forget the actual meaning of this day.  Yes, it has become the unofficial official day to kick off summer.  But the reality is that the day is supposed to honor those soldiers and others who have given the ultimate sacrifice of their life in service for their country.  As you plan for your Memorial Day celebrations, please, take a few moments to give honor to those who have sacrificed their lives in order that we have the freedom to enjoy this and every other day in America!

Have a blessed holiday!

I want to thank anyone and everyone who has served in our Military!  
Thank you for your selfless sacrifice!

1 Giving credit where credit is due: 

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

A Gentle Answer

By: Melissa Baker

It seems like just about every day, I am tempted to lose my temper.  When the kids are fighting, or things aren't going my way, sometimes I just want to scream or have an attitude. It's so easy to forget to be gentle. It's easy to forget to be kind and to not have a bad attitude. How we react to something or someone, will determine the environment and attitude around us AND within us. The Bible tells us many times about the importance being gentle and kind to one another. As a parent, when I yell or get angry, that rubs off on my kids and they become angry in return. The atmosphere then becomes chaotic and stressful. But if I remain calm, they stay calm and happy. If I talk to someone at church or work with an angry attitude, they might take offense and return the attitude. But if I am kind and gentle, its very likely that they will be also.  It's very interesting how as human beings, we kind of mirror each other, even in the smallest ways. That is why it's so important to remember to be gentle in the way we speak and act to each other. In a world full of hate, we need to create a kind and gentle atmosphere so others will mirror our behavior and it will spread to everyone else.

A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare. 
Proverbs 15:1 

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Ephesians 4:2

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness,
faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
Galatians 5:22-23

Just imagine for a second, that the way you talk to your kids or spouse, is the way God talks to you. Would you be happy with God talking to you the way you talk to others? Or would you be saddened or upset? We should always strive to treat others the way we want to be treated. I don't want someone constantly having an attitude with me or being harsh in the words they say. So I encourage you, pay attention to the way you interact with one another. Are we causing those around us to stumble and become angry, or are we spreading the love of Jesus in our words, actions AND attitudes. Remember to be gentle today to those around you. You just might be blessed by it in return!

Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be
ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate,
and always to be gentle toward everyone.
Titus 3:1-2

Have a great day!

Monday, May 21, 2018

You Can't Run On An Empty Tank

By: Jenifer Metzger

We have all seen a car stranded on the side of the road after running out of gas. Maybe you've even been the driver of that car. A car cannot and will not run with an empty tank. It is impossible. You must fill the gas tank before moving on. Sister, you cannot run on an empty tank either.

When a car's gas tank is empty, it sputters a moment before dying. When our tank is empty, we sputter too. Our sputter comes in many forms.

When someone in our family gets sick, that is one of the first things I think of, are we overworked. When we just keep going and going and going and going, our bodies do not get the physical rest they need. Often the outward sign of that is sickness. Our physical bodies are designed for rest.

When I am overly tired I get moody. I begin to snap at people for no apparent reason and let even the smallest of things get to me. Once I have rested, I don't feel moody and I can handle what is thrown at me.

When my kids were little, I knew the time of day just by their attitudes. When it was close to naptime, they were whiny. If we had done a lot of running around with errands and such, after awhile, they were whiny. They were ready to lay down and rest their bodies and minds to refuel.

Have you ever been sitting there working on a project or watching tv and you can feel yourself shutting down? You feel sleep coming over you even though you are busy and it is not time for bed. It is your body saying, "Hey! I need to rest!" Once we've refueled, we are ready to finish.

Pulling back on relationships
Your husband wants an intimate moment with you but you refuse because you just too tired. Your kids want your help, a story, or to show you their latest creation, but you say no or give a half-hearted yes because you are exhausted. When rested, we gladly give are all. Tired, we fail.

When we feel our self starting to sputter, we need to fill our tank. You cannot be the best you, the most effective you, when you are tired.

Here are ten ways to refuel:
• Go to bed thirty minutes earlier than normal. Everything can wait until tomorrow, you need rest.
• Take a relaxing bath or long shower.
• Spend thirty minutes reading for fun.
• Sit outside in the sun and just relax.
• Do something you love.
• Go on a date and reconnect with your husband.
• Play with your kids.
• Go get coffee with a friend.
• If you have little ones, swap days with another mom of littles. Let her watch your kids for the day while you refuel and you watch her kids another day while she refuels.
• And the absolutely most important, spend time with the Father.

Come to me, all of you who are weary
and burdened, and I will give you rest.
Matthew 11:28

1) What is your body's way of telling you that you need more rest?
2) What helps you rest the best?

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Bear One Another's Burdens...

We had a girl's group in the church I grew up in and this verse about bearing one another's burdens was our theme. The need to bear the burdens of others is something important to remember, but, obviously, even more important to take action and to do. But, lately I've been thinking about the fact that you can't bear someone's burdens if they won't let you-if they refuse to share the load.

For many of us, reaching out for help when we need it is a struggle. This is especially true if you are raised in an atmosphere where self sufficiency was emphasized and weakness was discouraged.  Pulling yourself up by your own bootstraps may have then become your default setting. But, what happens when that doesn't work-when you don't have the strength to pull yourself up-when you can't even find your dog gone boots, much less pull yourself up by the bootstraps?

Of course, we know that our preeminent Burden Bearer is Christ. We can go to Him with every care, need and struggle. Yet, we also read throughout the Bible that the body of Christ is a body made up of parts that are interconnected and interdependent. Something in those of us who were raised in an atmosphere of self-sufficiency almost recoils at the thought of being dependent on someone else.  We accept that we are to be burden bearers for others and can accept that they are dependent on us, but for us to admit to ourselves that we need to depend on someone else is to us a sign of weakness. We can humble ourselves enough to admit that we are dependent on Christ, but can struggle to humble ourselves enough to ask for help from others. This is me. This is my struggle. As a ministry leader I'm used to others asking me to help bear their burdens, but I have a very hard time asking for help for myself. Part of the struggle is the result of hurts and disappointments in those I trusted to help and support me in the past. Much of the struggle is my own stubborn pride that insists I can just handle everything myself and my pride prevents me from admitting my need for help.

Obviously, trust is a big issue.  Most of us have been hurt, disappointed or betrayed by someone that we thought we could trust and depend on to be there for us in our time of need. To bare our hearts to just anyone indiscriminately is foolish. However, there comes a time when the burden is heavy enough that you feel crushed under the load. You know that you have to take that risk to trust again.  Ask God to lead you to someone with a proven track record of discretion, trustworthiness, and God-given wisdom. Ask them to be a listening ear, ask them for prayer, ask them for help and support. Let them help to bear your burden. I think that you will be glad you did. I know that I am.

still following,