As we always do when the New Year arrives, we look back at the past year and reflect on all that was good and look forward to changing what needs fixing. We look forward to a year of more joy, better health, prosperity and relationships.
As I reflected back, I had a few down times in 2013, but for the most part, my year has been an amazing year of breaking the chains of alcohol, cigarettes and a foul mouth. As cliche as it sounds; NONE of this would have happened without the power of God. Without God, I would not have had the desire to even break those chains. And I truly believe that they would have been much harder to quit then they were, even if I had wanted to on my own without God in my life.
So I started 2014 Gung Ho. Ready to move full force ahead. Being a Disciple for Jesus. Doing everything I could to please him and move forward. Then just over a week ago, not even two weeks into the year, I was stopped in my tracks.. All of a sudden, I found myself depressed and feeling Angry towards God.. Was it really anger at God? or Anger at myself? If you read my blog entry about the “40 Day Challenge to Overcome” then you know that I Challenged myself and all those out there to take the challenge to be a new person in 40 days. To break just one chain of addiction. Of course my goal was to break them all, which in reality, is a lofty goal.
So as I mentioned, I did break the alcohol and cigarette addiction. But I have still struggled with one that affects so many in this day and age. Pornography. And of course that leads to thoughts of lust and all sorts of other issues. So my anger with God was, “Why God; when you know I want so bad to be over this, do you still allow Satan to tempt me”? Why can’t Satan just not be allowed to tempt us anymore?
In my anger, I had mentioned to some friends that I just wanted it to be over.. I just hate life on this earth so much. It is miserable and disgusting. I may have been angry, but trust me, I would never take my own life. So here I am again, on a rollercoaster of emotions… Angry at God, at myself, at life, not wanting Satan to fill me with lies that my anger should keep me away from church or Bible Study. God doesn’t really forgive you. On and On… Yet joyful that I have come so far and if that is so.. why am I in this dark place again.
We are always told to confess our sins to others. So when somebody asks or when I write a blog, I am totally up front and honest about it. I couldn’t quote the scripture, but I knew that I had heard it, and that we shouldn’t fake who we are. In being honest with people, especially those you trust, in your church, help usually comes forth from all around you in prayer or a personal sit down with a special and trusted friend.
I did meet with that friend and was reminded of and read this verse, 1 John 1:5-10 (ERV) 5 We heard the true teaching from God. Now we tell it to you: God is light, and in him there is no darkness. 6 So if we say that we share in life with God, but we continue living in darkness, we are liars, who don’t follow the truth. 7 We should live in the light, where God is. If we live in the light, we have fellowship with each other, and the blood sacrifice of Jesus, God’s Son, washes away every sin and makes us clean.8 If we say that we have no sin, we are fooling ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 But if we confess our sins, God will forgive us. We can trust God to do this. He always does what is right. He will make us clean from all the wrong things we have done. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we are saying that God is a liar and that we don’t accept his true teaching.
There it was.. confess your sins and God is faithful to forgive. Now, I have always known this, and it is so easy to tell others that, but hard to forgive ourselves and believe that it pertains to us. I must never forget this, and never deny it. God is not a Liar… He takes his blood and he rubs it all over our sin and the blood of Jesus cleanses it and washes it away. To forget that & to deny that is blasphemy.
We must also watch our Anger. Especially if you bring anger with you to the house of the Lord. To worship while in Anger is fruitless, unrighteous and his religion is worthless. (OUCH)!!!!
James 1:19-27 (NIV)
19 My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. 21 Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.
22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.
26 Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless. 27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
Going back to, “For when I am Weak, I am made Strong” After my discussion and much comfort from my friend, I had a new zeal and fervor for God again. The week and a half of depression and anger had once again, as it has many times in 2013, gone away and made me stronger. Funny how it took me a year to realize that this verse was in itself, very true.
So as my friend suggested, I went out and bought a journal to start writing down my thoughts of the day. To sit with God in private, reading the bible, closing my eyes and picturing Jesus sitting across from the table with me, and writing down what he is saying.
So here I sit.. again very early in the morning, starting at 3AM and writing this blog. And I am being told again…. God is Good and so am I. I am forgiven and he loves me (and You) so much. He is proud of us, he gave us freedom and he gives us light. If he didn’t love us as much as he does, he could have created us to be robots. To do and live exactly as he wanted. But he loves us so much that he gave us the right to choose to do whatever we wish. I have lived that life, and all it did was make me more miserable, and got me into all kinds of trouble.
I pray that you have made a new choice in life. To give up that old life of misery, anger, depression and to live in the light that is God. A freedom from sin, from pain, from endless misery. There is a new life in Christ. And you wouldn’t think that Joy and Struggle would go together. But in a life of Christ they do.
I leave you with the last words that I read last night before going to bed.. Funny how this is where I had left off a few nights before, and that it was so relevant to today… God sure does work in mysterious ways:
2 Corinthians 7:8-16 -9 I know I distressed you greatly with my letter. Although I felt awful at the time, I don’t feel at all bad now that I see how it turned out. The letter upset you, but only for a while. Now I’m glad—not that you were upset, but that you were jarred into turning things around. You let the distress bring you to God, not drive you from him. The result was all gain, no loss.
10 Distress that drives us to God does that. It turns us around. It gets us back in the way of salvation. We never regret that kind of pain. But those who let distress drive them away from God are full of regrets, end up on a deathbed of regrets.
11-13 And now, isn’t it wonderful all the ways in which this distress has goaded you closer to God? You’re more alive, more concerned, more sensitive, more reverent, more human, more passionate, more responsible. Looked at from any angle, you’ve come out of this with purity of heart. And that is what I was hoping for in the first place when I wrote the letter. My primary concern was not for the one who did the wrong or even the one wronged, but for you—that you would realize and act upon the deep, deep ties between us before God. That’s what happened—and we felt just great.
13-16 And then, when we saw how Titus felt—his exuberance over your response—our joy doubled. It was wonderful to see how revived and refreshed he was by everything you did. If I went out on a limb in telling Titus how great I thought you were, you didn’t cut off that limb. As it turned out, I hadn’t exaggerated one bit. Titus saw for himself that everything I had said about you was true. He can’t quit talking about it, going over again and again the story of your prompt obedience, and the dignity and sensitivity of your hospitality. He was quite overwhelmed by it all! And I couldn’t be more pleased—I’m so confident and proud of you.
And on that note… I leave you with tears in my eyes. I have grown stronger in my weakness… And God has blessed me yet again.
I kneel before him and raise my hands to him in Glory, and Praise him forever.