Posted in Faith

The time is NOW

graveside
Death.

It’s going to happen to all of us at some point.  And on Earth, it is final.  When someone we know and love dies, they are now physically gone, and that is/can be extremely painful.  We can feel helpless, lost, scared, uncertain and afraid.  And something I’m sure we never consider is how unresolved issues with those we had negative experiences with will never be resolved, and closure will escape us.  Why am I posting so morbidly?

Because recently God brought a passage to my mind that has been working its way through my thoughts and prayers for the last two weeks.  It’s Proverbs 6:16-19.

“There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers.”

I could write volumes on the first six items listed, but my focus for this post is on the last one: ONE WHO SOWS DISCORD AMONG BROTHERS.  And the reason I’m tying this into death is because the time to reconcile and “make things right” is now.  It’s while those who have hurt us or whom we have hurt are still alive.  The goal as believers should be to keep and maintain peace in our families, our relationships and everyone we encounter.

Discord that is being sown is usually in the form of words against someone else.  It’s mainly gossip or speaking about someone in the family/relationship who isn’t present to defend themselves with the intent of getting someone to think negatively about someone else.  The speaker shares just enough information to help you “form an opinion” about someone who isn’t even present.  Of course they wouldn’t say these things in front of the actual defendant, but they’ll definitely plant seeds to make you reconsider their character or motives.  And the truth is that the one sowing the seeds is the one who has the ulterior motive.  It also promotes unforgiveness and bitterness toward others.  It’s destructive.

I’ve been in many Christian circles where some want validation for their hurts and wounds brought on by others, and to share that is fine for the purpose of prayer, healing and restoration.  But to stay in the position of unforgiveness or anger is not healthy, spiritually or otherwise.  And it truly has no place in God’s Kingdom.

Sin, and namely the sin of pride, is what hinders us from moving into a place of forgiveness for those who have wronged us.  We think, what was done to me was so significant, I don’t have to forgive.  I get to be the victim, and nothing is required on my part.  But that kind of toxic thinking is harmful to yourself and others around you.  Was the sin against you truly worse than what you’ve done against Jesus?  Be honest.

Did someone pop into your mind just now?  Someone who hurt you, or whom you’ve shared misinformation about?  If you find yourself perpetuating events over and over again, ruminating on them for your own self-gratification, you need to stop.  You are sowing discord, and God hates it. Why?  Because He is about unity.  Sin has been dividing us since the Fall. But to those who have given their lives to Christ, your life is not your own, and your reactions and responses reflect what you believe and the power of Jesus to a watching world.  Are you letting Him move you in compassion to a place of forgiveness so you can love those who hurt you, serve those who anger you, and provide a place of safety for those who think differently than you?

And be advised: If you do not believe that the enemy prowls around like a lion, looking for someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8), you’re mistaken and deceiving yourself.  The goal of the enemy is to separate, divide, kill and DESTROY.  You are made in the image of God, and because Satan hates God, he hates YOU.  His tactics haven’t changed.  He still tries to use US against each other, and he’s working mightily in those of us who struggle with letting go of hurts.  This is a serious problem that needs to be addressed for ALL of our relationships, but primarily the one with God.

Christians, it’s not okay.

1 John 4:19-20 says, “We love because God first loved us.Whoever says, “I love God,” but hates his brother is a liar. The one who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love the God whom he has not seen.”

Many families are divided because sisters are against each other, in-laws disagree and pull away, brothers are competitive, and children learn to cut off those who don’t think like they do, because it’s been modeled for them so well.  But this is not the way of unity and it is not okay in the eyes of Jesus.

Caveat: I realize there are harmful, abusive situations where boundaries have to be made. That is not the discord God is talking about in this passage.  And I also realize there are issues within families between believers and non-believers.  We can’t expect those not walking with Christ to follow His laws.  So, we need to be prayerful about forgiving them, loving them and modeling Jesus to them.  Seek a Christian counselor or a trusted pastor if you are having trouble forgiving.

My plea is for those who are walking with the Lord to search deep in yourself and ask if the rift that was caused in your family is worth the remorse you will feel later in life when that person is gone.  Can you truly turn a blind eye to it?  Search your heart and reflect on why you won’t open your heart to the idea of that person being in your life.  Is whatever happened really worth losing the relationship for yourself, your spouse, your children, and future generations?  Is it worth acting in a way that is hurting your relationship with God?  It’s easy to parade around on Sundays acting like we have it all together, but God knows the discord that is being sown in our families, and the way we hide so we don’t have to deal with ourselves. Denial is a safe place for many but it is still inexcusable in this instance.

Again, this is not okay.  So if there is any truth to what I am saying, AND I KNOW THERE IS, Christians, I am imploring you to stop and repent of the words that are coming out of your mouths to character assassinate those you are hurting.  Be alert of who is trying to get you to do the character assassinations, and don’t give the devil a foothold.  Do not let him use you to hurt someone else.  It’s divisive and truly hated by God.  Do not feed into the lies spewed by those who try to sway your minds.  Go directly to the person to set things straight, and don’t let gossip take over your conversations.  We are accountable for our words and how we represent the Kingdom.

None of us who are believers should let time pass on these crucial relationship missteps. We need to pray about reconciliation, be willing to let Christ give us the love we need for others, and let ourselves be humbled to the point of forgiveness and restoration.

THE TIME IS NOW.

**If you do not have a relationship with Jesus and want to learn about Him, I invite you to go to the following link for great resources.  And if you’d like me to pray for or with you, you may contact me directly at grace.hejnal@gmail.com.

https://needhim.org/knowing-jesus/

With love, G 🙂

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Posted in Faith

Thoughts on the New Year

open door

Well, we’ve officially moved into a new year.  2016 is here!  Maybe it’s my age showing, but I’m amazed at how each year seems to go by faster than the one before.  And as I look around, I see there is always more money to make, less time to spend and many unhappy people.

With the new year comes time for New Year’s resolutions.  Since 2010, I’ve stopped making resolutions because I don’t like the feeling that I’ve failed.  Setting the bar and not meeting it means I didn’t succeed, so why put that unnecessary pressure on myself?  But lately, I am feeling the opposite.  Since I have given my life to Christ, it doesn’t matter if I set the bar and fail, because He gives opportunity after opportunity without deadline.

I’ve written in the past about how I’ve run ahead of God and how He’s been extremely gracious in my hustle and bustle.  In the past, I have loved the frantic, crazy pace of getting things done and having the feeling of accomplishment.  I’m not ashamed of it because it’s part of my make up, however as I get older, I’m realizing God is asking me to sllllllooooooooooooooooooooooooooowwwwwwwwwww dooooooooooooowwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwnn.

Being a woman, it’s natural to just take over certain tasks, keep everyone in line, make sure things get done, and go to bed depleted.  Checking boxes makes everyone happy, especially when the bottom line is saving money and time.  But in all of the busyness of life, I’ve even recently noticed how Christian biblical women authors are encouraging women to listen to the voice of the Lord and slow down.  And I believe God is speaking through them.

Lysa Terkeurst has released the best yes,

Susie Larson wrote your sacred yes and

Karen Ehman shares how to let it go.

I’m seeing a recurring theme from women who have “been there, done that” and have learned the rhythm of the Lord is in patiently waiting and not rushing.  What a crazy concept in our fast-paced society!  We don’t like to read these books that make us admit that we’re so goal-focused and check box driven, especially when it means something in our behavior pattern will have to change.  Yet realizing EXACTLY THAT will save us much heartache and unnecessary rebuke.

What is it that sends us to the task driven life?  In social circles, what is it that we are afraid of, if we don’t DO something?  Each woman (or man) who reads this can answer the questions themselves.  Honestly, I believe the questions should be mulled over, and prayed over, with time to hear back from God before replying.  When we can recognize WHY we jump to do something, and whether or not it’s something the Lord is truly asking of us, we can answer with confidence and not hesitation.

fasting

Our church is currently in a new sermon series about spending time with Jesus.  As part of that study, we are learning to fast and actually spend quality time with God.  Doing so requires discipline to follow the suggested regimen, not eating physical food, but depending on the Word of God and what He is speaking to us.  It’s a common practice done in the Bible by Jesus, for getting closer to God, and seeking His will.  I’ve done it once, as a teenager, when raising money for the 30 hour famine.  I’ve never done it longer, and I’ve never done it with the intent of getting specific answers from God.  I believe it is not a manipulation tool, because God cannot be manipulated.  But it is a practice worth doing, to have my physical body completely depend on God during my quiet time, and to exchange my hunger for food, to hunger for Him.

I have much to pray about specifically at this time in my life: I have many unsaved friends and neighbors, stepchildren with concerns about their futures, family members who have broken relationships, a job that is inconsistent at times, clarity for a dream/passion of mine to come to fruition.  All of these things need to be placed in the loving hands of the Father and LEFT THERE.  I needn’t pick them up again.  I can trust Him and I believe that my quiet time with Him will be beneficial, as He will provide what is best for me.

fervent

Now my issue is that I’ve listed my specific prayer needs/wants, but I’ve left out the ones that the Lord has for me.  How will I know them if I don’t ask Him what He has planned or what He is asking me to do?  I fall into the trap of thinking that prayer is simply telling God everything that I want Him to accomplish and then waiting for it to happen.  Have you ever had a conversation with someone like that?  They just talk at you and walk away, and you feel as if you didn’t have a chance to share your viewpoint on anything?  It’s one-sided, unfair, and is one thing I’m resolving this year.  I’m going to take the time to wait for His response.  Who am I to make demands?  I know I am His daughter, but if anyone deserves respect and ultimate praise, it’s God.  I need to be reminded of how I walk into His presence.

And something else that is heavy on my heart, is the gift that the Lord has bestowed on my husband and me.  We love spontaneity, whether it be something we do together solely as a couple, or whether it involve other people who need us in a time of need.  We have been obedient in listening to the Lord for those opportunities and then just “going”.  And we’ve seen the fruit of that obedience.  A dear friend of ours recently said Kevin’s and my greatest gift is our presence.  That we stop what we are doing, and just show up.  And I think that will be something I pray about specifically again this year.  Where do you need us to be, in what way, and what should we bring, if anything?  Giving of time has become such a wonderful way for me to see how the Lord can use me, instead of me having an agenda, or a place to rush off to.  Time really is the most precious gift.

Have you ever done the OneWord movement for the New Year?  I’ve come up with mine and it will be something I pray over and specifically focus on for 2016.  My word is #abide.  God has been speaking into my heart for some time now about spending time with Him (which is why I’m so jazzed about our sermon series at church), but also because I have been convicted by James 4:7.  I need to be drawing near to God and resisting the devil.  So much time in my past has been given to him, out of fear or insecurity, and I’m reclaiming my value this year.  I’m going to spend more time with the Lord, actual QUALITY TIME, and immediately relinquish all thoughts that aren’t from Him.

post it         calendar        tast list

Finally, I have a challenge for you, a very simple one.  If you trust your life in the capable hands of God, do you believe He has everything under His control?  Do you know that He hears the prayers of His children and filters them through His ultimate purposes and wisdom?

A girlfriend of mine told me a few years ago that when she is in prayer about the future, or something that she is uncertain that she’s supposed to be doing, she takes the task, calendar, or a sticky note with the option written on it, and puts it on the floor.  Then she prays over it, and waits to hear back from the Lord regarding it.  She doesn’t say YES until she knows it is what He is asking her to do.

I’m going to be doing this challenge.  I’ve said yes so many times in the past, without knowing whether or not something was correct, and I’ve become overwhelmed and burnt out.  So instead of struggling to find my way, I’m going to give everything to Him and wait for Him to interrupt my plans, intercede with a better idea, and speak to my heart in a way that only I know.

Praying a special prayer for each reader, that your year would be one of surrender, hope, trust, love, grace and forgiveness.  God is trustworthy and faithful to His promises.