Justifier

Sometimes I just want to scream the injustice from the mountain tops!

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Psalm 37:4-6

Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act. He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday.

Psalm 9:10

And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you.

Psalm 112:7

He is not afraid of bad news; his heart is firm, trusting in the Lord.

Romans 12:19

Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”

Isaiah 43:2

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.

But that is not my job, it’s God’s!

Have you ever been unjustly accused of something?  Have you ever had harm done to you and carried shame around?  Have you ever been the topic of a gossip chain? Have you ever been in need and your needs were totally overlooked? Have you ever played a part of doing these things to someone else?  Have you ever?

I can tell you my answer to these questions would be YES.   Whether the unjust was done to me or to someone else, I am learning that it’s not my place to be the justifier. My only part is to try my hardest not to be unjust to others and to run to God when the unjust is towards me.  Shouting it from the mountain tops only shows that my faith in God is weak, not trusting that He alone is my justifier.

Lord, help me not be consumed when I am treated unjustly and help me be aware of my every action so that I will not treat others unjust.  I want to walk this earth in the way that You set the example.  Open my eyes, open my heart and hold me through it.  Amen!

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Friday’s Question

How do you rid yourself of a heavy heart?

In my experience it’s by depending on God not others, forgiving those who have harmed you and asking for forgiveness from those you have harmed.

Matthew 5:7 Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.

Matthew 5:9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
Luke 6:31 Do to others as you would have them do to you.
Luke 6:37“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.
Hebrews 10:24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds,
Luke 6:35 But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.
Philippians 2:4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
Romans 12:18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.

To do this we must admit “all” to ourselves, leaving nothing out.  Start looking to others and encourage them and this will take our eyes off ourselves.  Forgiving others is not for them it’s for us.  

You will be amazed at how God’s promises will start flowing in.

Lord you know my heart right now!  You know what heaviness is hanging on for dear life.  You know, and only you know, what it’s going to take to rid myself of the heaviness.  I pray Lord that my every thought will be focused on  you and that you will guide my every step.  My one and only Savior! Amen!

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The Workers are Few

Matthew 9:37  Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.  BibleGateway.com-Logo

I’m so blessed to be a part of a church that encourages me to be more like Jesus and invest in others.  Yesterday we learned how Jesus started a movement of multiplication and that way it wasn’t up to Him alone to spread the good news of salvation.  He did this by several different steps.

1st – He had to put himself in the location of where the people were.  The people that needed to hear the good news and the people that would eventually be his disciples.

2nd – He had to have compassion for people.  Meet them where they were and encourage them to grow.

3rd – He prayed and prayed and prayed and prayed for the people and for His Father to put his followers in his path.  He also had a great dependence on His Father.

4th – He was willing to invest – invest in people and that meant time, patience and lots of love.

We are all called to multiplication.  To open ourselves up to go where we might not usually go. To have compassion and want to share the good news with others, understanding that everyone might not be where we are spiritually, emotional or otherwise. We must have a great dependence on the Lord to give us strength and lead us in the right direction, placing those in our paths that we need to get the job done. And then we must invest, invest in time is something that we all could say we are short of but it’s a necessary part of the  investment step.

We are reminded In Acts 4:13  When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.

You know that ordinary people do extraordinary things because of the investment of Jesus and their willingness to invest in others.

So remember, You are extraordinary, I am extraordinary and we are extraordinary for Jesus.  Don’t be afraid just take that 1st step.

Lord, I trust  you to lead me in the right direction.  I trust you to put the right people in my path that will encourage me to grow and you will put the people in my path that I need to invest in.  I’m willing! Amen

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Friday’s Question

How should I react?

I know that we’re all faced with situations that immediately make us want to react in a negative way but how successful are we at holding that “negative reaction” back?

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Read the below scriptures:

 

James 3:13

Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.

Galatians 5:16-18 

So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.  But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

James 1:5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.

Matthew 18:15 “If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over.

Matthew 7:3-5 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?  How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?  You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

Things I’ve learned, sometimes the hard way!

Philippians 4:8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Lord, I pray that I will continue to learn how to be more like Your image. Amen!

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Rest, Peace, Love and Time

Ephesians 5:25  “Husbands, love your wife as Christ loves the church.”

This weekend was busy…….  I hadn’t really have an opportunity to clean my house like I need too.  Touch ups but not really clean, so I was determined that I would do that.   After spending several hours cleaning and  a couple hours working in the yard, I was blessed by 3 hours of running around behind my 2 year old grandson, Weston. 20729425_10155198298772284_2148785747924374170_n And when I say run behind that is exactly what I mean.  But what a blessing he is.  All this on Saturday.  The up and at it on Sunday for church obligations  and worship.  I was in real need of some R and R.  So my husband, the wonderful man he is, did what he knows I love and need, and that’s take me for a ride on the motorcycle.  Yes, 3.5 hours of blissful riding on Sunday afternoon.  He gave me all the things I need in that 1 ride. Rest………… I had to do nothing.  Literally, nothing at all, just sit on my hiney.  Peace……….. the beauty of nature, road side creeks, lakes, sun streaming through the trees, mountain tops, farm animals in the fields and even a field of sun flowers.  If you will notice they are all facing the same way.  Towards the sun.  I pray that I’m always facing towards the Son.   Love…… he showed me love by giving to me without expecting anything in return.  Loving me without strings and knowing me enough to know what gives me peace.  Time……… And we had time together. Just he and I riding in the breeze, with the warmth of the sun on our faces and sometimes a coolness that reminds me that God still provides comfort to us.  My husband, loves me as Christ loves the church.  Christ know what his children need to find rest, what we need that brings them peace,  he loves us beyond all understanding and he will take as long as he needs to draw us closer to him.

So for this week, I’m starting refreshed by the rest, peace, love and time my husband gave me. And I’m refreshed by the reminder that God placed it all here for me to have.  And I am forever grateful.

Thank you Lord for providing places and spaces for me to rest, find peace, receive love and have the time.  Amen!signature

Perfectly Imperfect

15977454_10154554872702284_5135947803223755301_nPatti Krank: What a blessing she is to me.  I’ve seen her once in person, feed her once at my home, heard her story in person once and intend on visiting her at her home at least once.  But I know that God brought us together forever friends.  Those around her are truly blessed by her love for her Lord, her humbleness and open brokenness. She walks daily open to His leading and willing to speak frankly about life.  I have been blessed by her and I know you will be too.

Look at all the smiling faces, lined up in wooden pews.  And there she sits among them, safe in her obscurity. 

1She’s learned well, that love is most easily lavished upon those who look good, who are successful, who are positive and happy, who follow the rules.  And so, she plays the role. 

But God sees her brokenness.  He knows her deep desire for love and acceptance.  But happiness comes through relationship, and real relationship means being honest and willing to share our real selves.  Our perfectly imperfect selves.

Early in childhood I was stricken with an infirmity called perfectionism.  Whether it was passed down from my carrier parents, fostered by the do’s and don’ts teachings of my church, or simply my own bent toward seeing things in black and white, who knows?  Maybe all three played a part in my striving to live up to my family nickname, Perfect Patti.

The youngest child, quiet and sweet-natured, no one could foresee anything but good from me.  I tried to live up to their expectations.  After accepting Jesus, around the age of 7 or so, I tried hard to do things right. But, even as a child, I never felt like my good was good enough.  My relationship with Jesus was more about what a Christian should do than it was about intimate friendship.

All of us are created for and by God, and all of us have within us a deep need for relationship.  My own little girl heart was hungry for love and acceptance.  When the teen years came I realized that the shy girl within me was able to come out of her shell and could make the cool kids laugh when she drank a little.  She was regarded as “far out” by another crowd when they learned that she would sample their offerings of contraband.  She also learned that she could finally receive the “love” she longed for when she gave herself away.  And so she did.  Body, soul, and spirit.  Trouble was,[bctt tweet=” The love I chased after never seemed to last and ultimately left me feeling rejected and alone.” username=””]

Even in the midst of my most rebellious days God never ceased His pursuit of me and He stayed by my side me in every dark place I journeyed.  As the downward spiral continued, my shame grew and my self value plummeted.  These feelings are what caused my wildest days to be short-lived, and as a young adult I returned to church and dutiful service to God.

Service mind you, not relationship.

I was happy to be back in church because I liked living in the light much better than in darkness, and being in church made me feel better inside, except for . . . the shame that lingered.
Not enough!

Less than!

Failure!

Dirty!

Stupid!

These were some of the names that screamed inside my head.  Names that my enemy, the devil, made sure I heard loud and clear.  He does that you know.  When we try to get right with God he comes immediately to discount our positional freedom in Christ, and he makes every attempt to derail us from the purpose God has for our lives.

2I worked hard to make up for my past but there was no joy in the striving.  I dutifully said, “Yes,” to every request made of me, especially by the Pastor, whose approval I desired.  But my service became burdensome.  Where was the freedom the Bible talked about?  Where was the joy of the Lord?

Then came another time of falling away.  My personal life was shaken by divorce.  My church life was ripped in shreds when I was dis-fellowshipped.  Wounded, I walked away from church for many years.  I didn’t act out in rebellion the way I had as a teen and young adult, but I was very angry at the church, and hurt beyond words.

When I married to my current husband, I forgot my pain for awhile in the euphoria of new love.  Until real life returned and the bliss waned.  Over the years came more of the hard things of life (because life can be quite nasty you know).  It was a desperate need for God that led my husband and myself to finally return to church.  Of course I knew that God wasn’t to be found in a church building, but I also knew that following Jesus was harder without other believers and without good Bible teaching.
You’d think this would be the end of my struggle yet still . . . I felt “different” from everyone else in church.  With eyes deceived by lies, I looked around and saw all the “beautiful people” and knew that I was not one of them.

This was my thinking process:  I believed that church people would accept a total sinner off the street who’d sinned wildly before being saved, because they didn’t know any better.  But me?  I was a deliberate sinner.  A church girl gone bad.  I was certain that if people knew the sins I’d committed they wouldn’t like me.  So I held on to my secrets, and vowed to never tell a soul.

Except for God.  Though I might’ve wished God wasn’t all knowing so I could get away without confessing, I was raised in church and I knew His attributes.  In rededicating my life to Jesus I confessed my sins and asked for forgiveness, and accepted His freely given grace toward me.

However, grace and forgiveness of self was not so forthcoming.

Looking back I realize that I must have thought I was pretty special, not to accept that Jesus’ precious blood was enough to cover my deepest, darkest sins!   Did I really believe that God’s own Son was enough for others but not for me?

But oh, the shame!  How does a church girl fall so far when she knew better all along?  In my times of falling away I had God’s Spirit was constantly convicting me of right and wrong, and yet . . . I deliberately chose sin.

Over time, the spirit of shame I carried sought to destroy me.  I’d broken every single one of God’s commandments, including murder.  This, to me, was the worst.  My internal pain grew deeper and deeper, until I myself wanted to die.  A spirit of death hung over me because of an abortion I’d had at the age of 17.

Then came the time when my burden was too great to bear any longer and, at my husband’s insistence, I sought the help I needed.  At the end of myself, I admitted that my way of coping with my past wasn’t working, and I finally turned everything over to God.  That began my healing journey (one that I am still on by the way, because it is a life-long process) and the beginning of freedom.

[bctt tweet=”Freedom isn’t found in dark and hidden places. Freedom is found when we step into the Light.” username=””]

I tell the story over and over of how my confession to God brought forgiveness of sins (I John 1:9), but it was my confession to others that really initiated the healing (James 5:16).  It was so good to come clean and find love and acceptance from my “beautiful” brothers and sisters (Proverbs 28:13).  They liked me.  They really liked me . . . just as I was.

Authenticity.  Becoming honest about my past saved me and, to my surprise, has given me the opportunity to not only share my story, but also hear from others about their own deeply held secrets.  Who knew that God would one day use my pain for the good of others?
3God has a purpose for each of us before we are even a gleam in our earthly father’s eyes.  The enemy also has a purpose – to steal, kill, and destroy.  His plan is to shipwreck our faith and to separate us from our full destiny in Christ Jesus.

Since it is my purpose to encourage others in their faith and freedom, I can’t help but end my testimony without asking you if you are one of those people sitting in the pews pretending?  All of us have brokenness when we come to Christ.  Some have an immediate sense of freedom when they are saved.  But many in church are still walking in brokenness like I was.

It can be hard and embarrassing to face the things that cause us pain, but it is more painful, in the end, to keep them buried.  When we allow God to go to the root of the pain He promises to heal, set free, and deliver us . . . and there is nothing better than walking in the fullness of His Spirit and in power.  Please don’t let fear keep you from fulfilling His glorious purpose for YOU.

Blessings dear ones,

Perfectly Imperfect Patti

In case you’re interested you can read more about my Abortion Story here.  Or The Day the Church Asked for my Forgiveness here.  Or all about Forgiving Yourself here.  Or you can see a short Vimeo of Our (hubby’s and my) Story here. 😉

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We have beauty in imperfection.  Amen!

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One Day at a Time

“So don’t be anxious about tomorrow, God will take care of your tomorrow.  Live one day at a time”    Matthew 6:34

I have had to learn this.   Some of that learning was hard!   But I have learned!  Ask God to direct my path and then wait silently for his direction.  If he leads me to take a step…. take it without fear.  If he leads me to speak…. speak boldly.  If he leads me to stand firm…. stand firm without wavering.  If he leads me to move…. move without question.

Thank you Lord for taking care of my tomorrow!  Amen!

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The Lord is my Shepherd

Psalm 23:1 The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not lack.

Psalm 23 (full chapter- click here) BibleGateway.com-Logo

As I sit and listen to a minister speak of hard times in his life as tears well up in his eyes and he talks about how this chapter, primarily the 1st sentence has impacted his life, I wondered, do I believe those things for myself?  I want to, I think I do and I pray that I show that in my daily walk.  But do I?

I have seen some very hard times.  Some I wan’t even sure I would make it through but one day, it hit me.  The Lord is “my” Shepherd.  My shepherd is really for me!  Do we know what a shepherd’s duties are in the animal world?

shepherd’s primary responsibility is the safety and welfare of the flock, according to the Mountain Plans Agricultural Service. Some flocks may include as many as 1,000 sheep. The shepherd will graze the animals, herding them to areas of good forage, and keeping a watchful eye out for poisonous plants.

Shepherd, a word naturally of frequent occurence in Scripture. Sometimes the word “pastor” is used instead ( Jeremiah 2:8 ; 3:15 ; 10:21 ; 12:10 ; 17:16 ). This word is used figuratively to represent the relation of rulers to their subjects and of God to his people ( Psalms 23:1 ; 80:1 ; Isaiah 40:11 ; 44:28 ; Jeremiah 25:34 Jeremiah 25:35 ;Nahum 3:18 ; John 10:11 John 10:14 ; Hebrews 13:20 ; 1 Peter 2:25 ; 5:4 ).

The duties of a shepherd in an unenclosed country like Palestine were very onerous. “In early morning he led forth the flock from the fold, marching at its head to the spot where they were to be pastured. Here he watched them all day, taking care that none of the sheep strayed, and if any for a time eluded his watch and wandered away from the rest, seeking diligently till he found and brought it back. In those lands sheep require to be supplied regularly with water, and the shepherd for this purpose has to guide them either to some running stream or to wells dug in the wilderness and furnished with troughs. At night he brought the flock home to the fold, counting them as they passed under the rod at the door to assure himself that none were missing. Nor did his labours always end with sunset. Often he had to guard the fold through the dark hours from the attack of wild beasts, or the wily attempts of the prowling thief (see 1 Samuel 17:34 ).”, Deane’s David.

So if the Lord is my shepherd then He is watching over me, protecting me, caring for my every need and will watch out ahead of me so he can guide me away from harm.  All I have to do is have faith in that.   And man can I tell you that I have seen His work in my life.

So I say to you………… The Lord is “your” Shepherd too.  Let Him protect, provide, care for and guide you in your day.

I am attaching the sermon that I referenced above.  I know that you will have tears streaming down as well.

Psalm 23 – The Lord is My Shepherd (click here)

Grateful is all I can say.  Amen!

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Friday’s Question

What’s your perspective?

Colossians 1:28 He is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ.

(click for Psalm 40) BibleGateway.com-Logo

Some insights from Rick Warren:

The Bible says that unbelievers have no spiritual perspective (1 Corinthians 2:14). Likewise a lack of perspective is a mark of spiritual immaturity (1 Corinthians 3:1-2, 13:1114:20). In contrast, having perspective is evidence of spiritual maturity. Hebrews 5:14 (NASB) says, “But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.”

There are many benefits of learning to see everything from God’s perspective:

Perspective causes us to love God more. The better we understand the nature and ways of God, the more we love him. Paul prayed “May you be able to feel and understand, as all God’s children should, how long, how wide, how deep, and how high his love really is” (Ephesians 3:18 LB).

Perspective helps us resist temptation. When we look at a situation from God’s viewpoint, we realize the long-term consequences of sin are greater than any short-term pleasure sin might provide. Without perspective we follow our own natural inclinations. “There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death” (Proverbs 14:12 NIV).

Perspective helps us handle trials. When we have God’s perspective on life we realize that “in all things God works for the good of those who love him” (Romans 8:28) and that “the testing of your faith develops perseverance” (James 1:3). Perspective was one of the reasons Jesus was able to endure the cross (Hebrews 12:2). He looked past the pain to the joy that was set before him.

Perspective protects us from error. If there was ever a time that Christians need to be grounded in the truth, it is today. Pluralism has created a very confused culture. The problem is not that our culture believes nothing but that it believes everything. Perspective is the antidote.

When believers, new and mature, are given both knowledge and perspective, the result is rock solid: “Then we will no longer be like children, forever changing our minds about what we believe because someone has told us something different or has cleverly lied to us and made the lie sound like the truth” (Ephesians 4:14 LB).

I pray that I will grow to have a clear God perspective on things that I’m faced with in life. Amen!

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