Thursday, December 14, 2017

Accepting Condemnation

No Condemnation

From whom have you been accepting condemnation?
  • Someone from your childhood?
  • An authority figure in your life?
  • Yourself?
  • Your arch enemy, the devil?
Of course, we are not perfect, and there are things in our lives that need to be confronted and changed, but no one has the right to condemn us except Jesus -- and He doesn't!

Romans 8:1-2 assures us of this wonderful truth:
There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.
As a Christian, there is no condemnation! No other religion in the world offers this grace, for there is no other qualified savior except the Lord Jesus Christ. Because He took the condemnation that was due us, we can stand before a holy God without condemnation because God sees us in Christ, with His righteousness and without guilt!

Are you allowing others or yourself to lay condemnation on you? When we do this to ourselves, we are actually holding grudges and harboring unforgiveness in our hearts toward ourselves and, as a result, carry much torment. Did Jesus pay the price for our sins, past and present? He did! Was the price He paid satisfactory to His Father? It was! Can any amount of self-torment or abuse that we inflict upon ourselves make us more acceptable to God? Never! Therefore, forgive yourself and be free from condemnation!

Are you hearing condemnation from the devil? He uses our past failures, shortcomings, and sins to level guilt and condemnation against us, but we must remind ourselves that our acceptance by God is not dependent on our performance but on Christ's perfection! Learn to resist the devil's lies by talking back to him -- repeating truths based on Scripture that can set us free, such as the following:
  • Only Jesus can condemn me, and He doesn't.
  • I will not be burdened again with a yoke of slavery to guilt or condemnation.
  • Jesus came to set me free from this guilt, and I choose to be free.
  • You might as well give up, Satan, because I refuse to let you condemn me.
Romans 8:33-34 (Phillips) reassures us there is absolutely no condemnation for us in Christ:
Who would dare to accuse us, whom God has chosen? The judge himself has declared us free from sin. Who is in a position to condemn? Only Christ, and Christ died for us, Christ rose for us, Christ reigns in power for us, Christ prays for us!
So throw off condemnation by putting your name in the blank and repeating this to yourself time and again:
          _____________, only Jesus can condemn you -- and He doesn't!

The Circle of Freedom

Because of Christ's sacrifice on our behalf, we do not have to live under a cloud of condemnation from anyone, including ourselves! Galatians 5:1 (Phillips) says this:
Plant your feet firmly therefore within the freedom that Christ has won for us, and do not let yourselves be caught again in the shackles of slavery.
I love that imagery of planting our feet firmly within the freedom that Christ has won for us! Can you not hear Jesus saying to you, "Here, come plant your feet firmly in the freedom that I have won for you. This battle has been fought and I won it. Come here and stand in this freedom that is now yours"?

Our responsibility is to obey -- to take our mental feet and plant them firmly in that circle of freedom. At first, our thoughts will not willingly go into that circle of freedom and, once we get them there, they won't want to stay for very long. However, like any exercise, the more we do it, the easier it is to do, and the longer our mental feet will remain in that freedom!

I leave you with this encouragement:
          Purpose today to recognize any area of condemnation to which you have been listening.
          Determine right now, by God's grace, to throw it overboard.
          Choose to walk into that circle of freedom with Christ as your victor.
          And every time that condemnation raises its ugly head, replace it with Truth from God's Word!

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Believing Wrong Messages

What wrong messages have you believed that have caused you to feel guilty?

I so often hear stories from women who are dealing with guilt that comes from believing wrong messages. Sometimes these wrong messages or lies have been programmed into their minds through other people. Other times these wrong messages come from their own errant thought processes and their lack of understanding the freedom they have in Christ.

To erase these wrong messages, we must grasp that God has loved us from the day we were born and that, alone, makes us worthy and valuable! We must never lose the wonder of God's forgiveness so that we can put the past behind us, and live in the truth that God has lovingly planned all our days as His valuable child.

The Source of Wrong Messages

Wrong messages can come from others: Overbearing parents, critical spouses, and never-satisfied bosses can send messages of inadequacy and incompetence about our performance or worthiness.

Wrong messages can come from our culture: The image of the ideal woman as thin and ageless, and the you-can-have-it-all message portrayed by women in the limelight drives us to try to be superwomen.

Wrong messages from our past: Failures, rejections, and a dysfunctional family life can all cause us to believe we'll always fail, we'll never be worthy of acceptance, and, where dysfunction exists, we are the cause.

Erasing Wrong Messages

Only God has the ability to erase His memory, as we read in Isaiah 43:25:  "I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions. . .and remembers your sins no more."

I doubt any of us can ever totally erase the wrong messages that have been ingrained in our minds for so long. But there is an answer, and it takes place in our minds.  Paul taught us how to fight this battle: "The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedience to Christ." (II Corinthians 10:4-5)

Bringing our thoughts into captivity is what we must do in order to live in the freedom that Jesus purchased for us on the cross.

The Fail-Proof Delete Button

I following is a fail-proof method to erase wrongs messages because it is firmly rooted in the truth of God's Word!

1. To erase wrong messages, you must bring them into captivity and force them to be obedient to Christ. Learn to recognize the wrong thought patterns and then, by a specific decision on your part, erase the thought patterns that are giving you those wrong messages by replacing them with right thoughts.

2. Replace wrong messages with God's truth through Scripture memorization. Memorize portions of Scripture that directly address your particular wrong messages, so that when they begin to re-play in your mind, you can immediately recite the Scriptures that counter those wrong messages, replacing them with God's truth.

3. Recognize the power of Scripture to demolish your strongholds of thought.  God's word is eternal and will set you free.  This is a promise from our Lord Jesus Christ!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

An Overly Active Conscience

Did you ever think about the guilt that the apostle Paul must have struggled with after his remarkable conversion on the road to Damascus? Think of all the words he had spoken against Christ and His disciples; think of all the damage he had done to the new and brave believers in the early church; think of all the pain he had caused to so many people simply because they believed in Jesus.

The Need for a Conscience
Every person has a conscience, or at least had a conscience at one time. A definition of conscience is, "the sense of what is right and wrong in one's conduct or motives, impelling one toward right action." Paul wrote to Titus, "To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure. In fact, both their minds and consciences are corrupted" (Titus 1:15). We need to work at keeping our conscience clear and pure.

An Overly Active Conscience
An overly active conscience is susceptible to unrealistic expectations. These expectations come from various sources--from within ourselves, from parents, from friends, bosses, co-workers, or even from a distorted understanding of God. With an overly active conscience, we can actually attract unrealistic expectations because we so desperately need approval that we look for ways to earn that approval by trying to do or be what is more than we can do or be.  The need to prove one's worthiness to others remains constant. While we should be concerned, to a point, about the feelings or expectations of others, an exaggerated concern for what others think will put you on the road to burnout, depression, and despair. An overly active conscience is a stern task-master who is only occasionally pacified and immediately requires that you prove your worthiness once again.

Satan loves guilt and wants to convince us that God could never love us again. Maybe God loved us at one time, but not anymore. Why would He ever trust us and take another chance? Physical, emotional, and spiritual deprivation are a result of Satan's attempts to pull this dark veil of guilt over our hearts. God's forgiveness is enough!

Understanding God's Grace
How many songs do you know about grace? How many sermons have you heard about grace? No doubt you've seen the acrostic that attempts to define grace as

God's
Riches
At
Christ's  
Expense

Living in Grace
It's a sad truth that many of us never live in that wonderful grace even after we've received it, even though we believe it and sing songs about it. Our daily experience often does not reflect that we have been given this amazing grace.  When we understand that God's grace is lavished upon us and in spite of our unworthiness, our minds can be filled with truth, which eventually drowns out that nagging voice within us that is fueled by an overly active conscience.  Living in grace is ours in Christ, and we should not settle for anything less.


If you would like to purchase the book, Why Do I Always Feel Guilty, visit our bookstore at www.christianworkingwoman.org

Thursday, September 14, 2017

My trip to Africa 2017

Headed to Kigali, Rwanda for 10 days of ministry with Rex on 
September 4, 2017




We arrived safely in Kigali on Tuesday evening and thank God for a safe trip. Dear friends met us. On Thursday we begin a very busy teaching schedule here in Rwanda.


 


I had the joy of speaking to a church in Eastern Rwanda today, a church which my dear friend, Simon Nziramakenga began in the early 90's. It is in a very remote area where there are few churches. The women were very happy to have the conference and we had a blessed time. Standing beside me is Jackie, who interpreted for me. 




In a three day conference in Kigali, Rwanda. Many women came forward for prayer as we talked about getting rid of the bitter roots in our hearts. Every woman in Rwanda has a story that would break your heart, but God is doing a wonderful work of reconciliation here. What a privilege to be with these strong women!





Here are three precious children, peering in the church window. Children are very friendly and curious about the us white Americans. 





We just completed a two-day conference with about 350 women in a church in Gigenyi, in western Rwanda. We saw God do a mighty work in the hearts of these dear women. Many testified that God had set them free from the "bitter roots" in their hearts, after my message. One woman told how her father left her as a baby and she never saw him until she was 21. And for many years she has been bitter toward him, but God has set her free. That is one of many stories. I have taught all day for six days, but God has given me strength and blessed our meetings. Thanks for your prayers.





I had the great privilege of speaking to the leadership of the Tabitha Ministry in Bomet, Kenya.  This is a Bible study ministry begun by my friend, Linda Spriegel, with one Bible study in 2005, and now there are 250 Bible study groups scattered for miles over this countryside, with over 2000 women coming each week.  The top 100 leaders of this ministry met on Saturday, the 16th, for a time of inspiration and fellowship.  What a joy!






 



We are seeing some incredible animals as we travel back to Nairobi. Looking forward to going home Thursday night. Thanking God for a safe and fruitful trip.




















Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Making Comparisons

Have you ever compared yourself to other people? When we do that, one of two sinful and opposite consequence usually results:
1. We begin to think we are better than others or
2. We begin to think others are better than we are.

Consider the first consequence: thinking we are better than others. The parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector is appropriate here:  (Luke 18:9-14). The Pharisee prayed, "God, I thank you that I am not like other men--robbers, evildoers, adulterers......."  The tax collector stood at a distance. "God, have mercy on me, a sinner." When we look at the Pharisee we may think "What an awful attitude!" When we compare ourselves with others, we can fall into the sin of pride. Jesus said in Luke 18:14 "Everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted."
The second consequence: thinking others are better than we are. Arrogance and pride are not present so we may think we are not being sinful but we need to watch out for thinking negatively about ourselves. God has entrusted each of us with abilities and talents and with these come opportunities to multiply and gain more abilities and talents. Read Matthew 25:14-30 and consider what Jesus said in the parable of the talents.

Accept the talents and gifts God has invested in you, and then set out to grow them as much as possible.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Our Superwoman Delusions

Finding Balance in Our Lives

Have you ever thought of the fact that the God of all creation has a specific list of good works for you to do? How exciting is that?

When we try to do what we think we should do, rather than ask God to lead us to those good works He prepared for us that's when our problem with the "superwoman syndrome" begins. Anytime we allow someone beside God to set our agenda, we're headed for trouble. Anytime we live to please others rather than God, we're headed for trouble.

Ephesians 2:10 is one of the most powerful verses in Scripture-- it contains, in one verse, a life-mission statement for every Christian. This statement could hardly be clearer or more powerful:
We are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

If we are to do the good works God planned for us to do, we have to know what they are. God doesn't send us on a treasure hunt to try to find His will. The good works God has planned for each of His children will be:

1.  In complete agreement and harmony with God's Word and His principles as presented in the Bible.

2. God will make use of the gifts and abilities he has placed in us. Hence, we each need to know how God has gifted us individually. If you've never studied the gifts that are listed in Romans 12:6-8,
1 Corinthians 12:8-10 and Ephesians 4:11, you would do well to do so and discover which of those gifts are evident in your life.

3. The good works God put us here to do will not come to us in a strategic plan for our life, with every detail outlined and every path clearly marked. God knows that plan, of course, but He reveals it to us gradually as we grow in grace and our faith increases.


If you wonder what some of the superwoman tendencies are, you can take a short quiz in my book, Why Do I Always Feel Guilty? It can be ordered on my website at www.christianworkingwoman.org.


Monday, May 15, 2017

Men, Women, and Guilt

Understanding Guilt

It seems men and women handle guilt quite differently. Don't they? It might not surprise you because God did create us with different natures and we often respond in different ways to the world around us, especially where emotions are concerned--and guilt is a emotion. 

I often envision us women carrying our guilt backpacks with us all the time, collecting guilt as we go. These backpacks are stuffed full with everyday guilt's we accumulate without even noticing. These guilt's usually come in the form of saying "I'm sorry" and feeling responsible for events and situations that are not our fault. In other words, "If I'm accused, I must be guilty."

Unloading Guilt

How can we respond to these feelings of guilt? We need to break out of our old habit of apologizing for things for which we are not guilty. Remember, you can empathize--that is, put yourself in someone else's shoes--without apologizing. 

Refusing Undeserved Blame

Could it be that you have allowed others to shift their blame to you for so long that you have become their dumping ground? That goes back to our nurturing natures, our desire to make everything right, and our tendency to feel guilty when accused without examining the facts. 

As we learn to stop apologizing for things not in our control, we don't have to lose our tender hearts, our compassionate tendencies, or our sympathetic ears in order to git rid of guilt. We certainly don't want to become so defensive that we can never say, "I'm sorry." We are women, and while we don't need to roar, we do need to treasure the special attributes that God gave us and use them wisely.

If you recognize that you take on guilt from others far too readily, then you've made an important first step toward changing that bad habit.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

What is False Guilt?

What is False Guilt?
Good question.  False guilt is a guilt we impose upon ourselves. We allow it to take root in our minds, to start causing all kinds of bad feelings, to feed us all kinds of lies, and we begin to believe it.
False guilt is a "feeling" that is not grounded in truth, but nonetheless strong and real. To help you better understand what false guilt is, look at these examples:
  • what we experience when we keep remembering what God has forgiven and forgotten.
  • what we feel when someone appears to be disappointed in us.
  • what we feel when we have to say no.
  • what we feel when we try to please people and fail.
  • what we feel when we live with unrealistic expectations of ourselves.
  • what we feel when we allow others to dictate what and who we should be.
One of the first signs that you are dealing with false guilt is that you just can't pinpoint exactly why you feel guilty. 

Remember, if God is not condemning you, you have no reason to let anyone else condemn you - no even yourself. I would urge you to memorize Romans 8:1, "There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus," and Isaiah 43:25: "I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more."

So, don't live in condemnation. Stand up to the false guilt in your life and declare you are no longer under its power.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Confronting True Guilt


True Guilt vs False Guilt
Do you know the difference between true guilt and false guilt?
True guilt is what we feel when God convicts us of some area in our life that needs to be changed, and we are resisting that change. The longer we resist obeying God, the heavier the burden of true guilt becomes.  We try to deny it and bury it or we try to keep so busy that we don't have time to think about it.

The Effects of True Guilt
True guilt not only affects our feelings but can affect our physical health too. In Psalm 38 we find one of Scriptures' most vivid descriptions of the effects of true guilt. King David felt guilty because he had done wrong, and his guilt took a toll on him. "...My guilt has overwhelmed me like a burden too heavy to bear...."  King David had been harboring this true guilt for months.

God's Remedy for True Guilt
Our heavenly Father does not want us to live with the burden of guilt.  The incredible good news of the gospel is that Jesus came to offer Himself as the perfect sacrifice and become our once-and-for-all guilt offering. Romans 8:1 says, "There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus."

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Blooming Where You're Planted


by Mary Lowman

Recently I had an opportunity to talk to a senior citizen, Betty, in her 80’s, who is an inspiration to me.  Betty is a widow and a mom of three grown children and lots of grandchildren.  She is a Jesus-lover from way back, and at this stage in her life, she is finding creative ways to reach out to others with the love of Jesus.

Betty’s husband died after a very long illness where she was his main caregiver.  This was a daily “dying to self”, as she dedicated all her time and energy to helping him after a massive stroke.  It took its toll on her physically, as she had to lift him and help him maneuver.  “But,” she told me, “because of that my upper body became very strong.”  Then, when she had to have open heart surgery after her husband’s death, her doctor said it was a miracle she was still alive.  “It was because I had such strong upper body that I was able to survive that surgery,” she said. “So, you see, it was good that I had helped my husband all that time.”

Now that she lives alone and is still driving, she has found a way to continue to share the love of Jesus with others.  She goes to the grocery store every day.  She said, “That way I don’t have heavy bags to carry if I just get a few things each day.  And then, I just go up and down the aisles of the store, to see who God puts in my path that day.” 

Betty uses her daily trips to the grocery as a way to meet people, to offer encouragement, to pray for people, and to let them know that Jesus loves them.  Almost every day she has an opportunity to speak to someone—mostly strangers—and simply offer a moment of caring and concern.  She has story after story of the people she has met in this way, and how blessed she is to have this ministry.

Just knowing Betty is to see an example of what it means to “Rejoice always,” as Paul exhorts us.  As we sat together after the funeral of her beloved daughter-in-law—and my niece—and as we recalled how much we loved her and would miss her, Betty found the bright side of the occasion and her attitude of blooming where she is planted challenged and inspired me.

It’s not so much the big things we do for Jesus that makes a difference; it’s the way we reach out in our everyday lives—on our jobs, in our families, and yes, as we walk the aisles of the grocery store. 

Monday, January 16, 2017

Can We Live Guilt-free Lives?

Has your life been hounded with guilt? 

Living with Guilt
A life burdened under a load of guilt is not the abundant life that Jesus came to give us. Guilt steals our joy, hinders our productivity, interrupts our peace, harms our relationships, and worst of all, makes us self-focused. Guilt leads to dissatisfaction and discontent.

What is Guilt?
Guilt is both a fact and a feeling. It is possible to be guilty without feeling guilty. It is possible to feel guilty without being guilty. And, it is possible to be guilty and feel guilty. No doubt we have all experienced these three conditions.
  • Being guilty without feeling guilty can be due to ignorance. The apostle Paul wrote, "My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me."  1Corinthians 4:4.
  • It is possible to have a hardened heart that feels no guilt even when we are guilty. Hebrews 3:13 admonishes us not to be "hardened by sin's deceitfulness."
  • Feeling guilty even when we are not guilty is a more common struggle for most of us. False guilt is caused by wrong thinking. We feel guilty because we allow ourselves to think thoughts that tell us it is our fault, whatever "it" is. We ignore the facts, we wallow in self-recrimination, and we send ourselves into a downward spiral of despair and discouragement without justification. That's because this false guilt is a feeling, not reality.
Living Guilt-free
If you are a Christian, it is not God's will for you to live in guilt. Allowing guilt to continue to plague you is evidence that you are living a defeated life, and we Christians are called to live victoriously. Galatians 5:1 says, "It is for freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery."

We must learn to recognize Satan's strategy and stand firm against it. It's time we discover that guilt is not meant to be part of our everyday living; it is not normal; it is not okay; it is not inevitable.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

What Blots Out Eternity?

Mortal Versus Immortal

This "bit of mortal life" is a good reminder that the things that blot out eternity from our view are mortal, not immortal. This means that they don't last very long. Furthermore, they are bits--small and inconsequential compared to the unseen things of eternity. Yet because this mortal life is close pressed, right in front of our eyes all the time, it frequently keeps us from looking with Forever Eyes.

There could be a scene of unsurpassed beauty and grandeur in front of you, but if you hold a worthless piece of play money up close to your eyes, it will keep you from seeing the magnificent scene behind it.  It will blot out the beautiful with the worthless.  How often we allow useless, worthless, meaningless, mortal things to blot out the everlasting view God has for us, waiting there to be seen with Forever Eyes.

Loving the World

Do not love the world or anything in the world.  If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.  For everything in the world - the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does - comes not from the Father but from the world.  The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.    1 John 2:15-17