June 22, 2017

Life’s Healing Choices: Chapter 8 Review

■Realize I am not God

■Earnestly believe that God exists, that I matter to Him, that He has the power to help me recover

■Consciously choose to commit all my life and will to Christ’s care and control

■Openly examine and confess my faults to myself, to God, and to someone I trust

■Voluntarily submit to every change God wants to make in my life and humbly ask Him to remove my character

■Evaluate all my relationships.  Offer forgiveness to those who have hurt me and make amends for harm I’ve done to others, except when to do so would harm them or others

■Reserve a daily time with God for self-examination, Bible reading and prayer in order to know God and His will for my life and to gain the power to follow His will

■YIELD MYSELF TO GOD TO BE USED TO BRING THIS GOOD NEWS TO OTHERS, BOTH BY MY EXAMPLE AND BY MY WORDS

Happy are those who are persecuted because they do what God requires.
Matthew 5:10

CONGRATULATIONS!!!  You have completed this part of the journey of healing with us.   But it is only the beginning.  God is beginning a great and awesome work in each one of you.  It has been an amazing privilege to go down this path with you and to see how He has been creating new creations in all of us (2 Corinthians 5:17).

This last week of the study, we discussed recycling our pain.  Some quotes to remember from this week:

‘God never wastes a hurt.’

‘What joy it brings our Father in heaven to see our pain turn into something good.’

‘This is your life, child; this is why I’ve allowed so many years of pain and suffering, to help another of My children in need.’

‘We are Redeemed! What greater promise and truth is there?’

Isn’t it absolutely mind-boggling to realize that we serve a Father who loves us so much that He sent His only Son to walk on this earth…to teach us…to be punished and crucified so that we can have this freedom?! His word tells us ‘If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire and it shall be done for you’ (John 15:7).  All we have to do is believe, receive, walk in His ways, give our hearts to Him, and He will give us the desire of our hearts. I have to say, I think of that and absolutely do a happy praise dance!!  He is so good to us!!

At the end of the book, John Baker shares the Serenity Prayer with us.  When I attended Celebrate Recovery for 2 years, we said this each week.

Prayer for Serenity

God, grant me the serenity (peace John 14:27)
to accept the things I cannot change (only You can),
the courage to change the things I can (be strong and of good courage Joshua 1:9),
and the wisdom to know the difference (Matthew 14:16).
Living one day at a time (patience),
enjoying one moment at a time;
accepting hardship as a pathway to peace (John 16:33);
taking, as Jesus did,
this sinful world as it is (righteous judgment John 7:24),
not as I would have it;
trusting that You will make all things right (trust Psalm 37:3),
if I surrender to Your will (in my weakness, He is strong 2 Corinthians 12:10);
so that I may be reasonably happy in this life (content Philippians 4:11-13)
and supremely happy with You forever in the next (joy James 1:2-4).
Amen!

*parenthesis are my notes as God showed me in the 2 years at Celebrate Recovery

As you say this prayer, remember John 15:7 when He tells us if we abide in Him…we can ask whatever we wish, and it will be done for us. He will give us the desires of our heart.  If we truly believe and walk in this healing, He will answer this prayer with a Yes and Amen!!

Continue to immerse yourselves in His word, surround yourselves with people who will encourage and lift you up, and let Him love you and heal your hurts, habits, and hang-ups continuously.  You have grabbed His hand, now continue to walk with Him down the pathway to peace.  You have received VICTORY in Jesus’ name.

Take some time and listen to this song: 

When you have stopped dancing and celebrating—find the closest mirror, look at the beautiful reflection God has made in you and say, ‘Look at me now, I’m stronger this time around!!’

Let’s Pray:

Gracious Father, we cannot find enough words to express our thankfulness for the grace, love, and healing You have given us.  Our hearts are overflowing with joy that You love us enough to clothe us in Your righteousness.  Father, take our hurts, pain, habits, and hang-ups and use them to glorify Your name.  It is only through You that we can truly say we are healed, we are stronger now, and we can trust that You will continue to take us on this journey to completion.  As we finish this study, help us to push on, stay committed to this healing You have given us.  Place people in our lives that will encourage and walk beside us.  Bless each one that is reading this prayer, Father, and their families. Father, we cannot say enough how much we love You.  We do give all the glory and honor to You daily. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Please be sure to check out our Facebook Fan Page on Monday, when we will announce our next online Bible study!! You won’t want to miss this one!  

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If you would like to send a private message to Laurie in regards to this blog, please email her at Laurie@girlfriendscoffeehour.com

Life’s Healing Choices: Chapter 8 – “Recycling Pain” (pp 241-242)

Choice 8: Yield myself to God to be used to bring this Good News to others, both by my example and by my words.

Matthew5_10

Can you believe it?  We are actually on our last week of this study.  It has been an amazing journey with all of you.  As we close up this study, we are going to talk about recycling our pain—sharing the testimony God has given us and our giving to others, so they may know the love and grace we have been given.  I don’t know about you, but I use to think as Moses did, “Who am I?” that He should use me?  But God doesn’t use the strong, or the wise, or the mighty. “But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty, and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are  (1 Corinthians 1:27, 28).

God wants to use those very things you want to leave behind, pack away, or just simply not talk about to help others.  When I first completed this study, 3 years ago, one of the sentences that stuck out to me was “God never wastes a hurt.”  He wants to use all the pain and struggles we have gone through to show others His power.  It is during that time when we become weak that His strength shines.  “He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength (Isaiah 40:29). 

As you continue this journey beyond this week, and allow God to be first in your life, you will see that everything we have is a gift from God.  Our recovery and healing are built upon the strong foundation of our faith in Christ.  As we share what He has done in our lives, others will see Him living through us.  In Matthew chapter 5, just after the Beatitudes are delivered from Jesus during His sermon on the Mount, He tells us we are ‘…the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden’ (verse 14).  He then says,”Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand and it gives light to all who are in the house.  Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify Your Father in heaven (Matthew 5:15, 16).  He wants us to place His light in us on that lampstand to shine before others.

As He is the Potter and has made us His vessels, think about vessels and light.  As we become broken vessels and He puts us back together, visualize a pot that has been broken and put back together—cracks here and there.  Now place it next to an unbroken vessel.  Which one, when a light is placed inside, would shine the most?  The broken and healed vessel, as the light will shine through the every crack.  God has healed and put us back together with His power, placed His light inside us to shine so others can see and all glory can be given to Him.

I have had the privilege of giving my testimony many times in the past year.  I love to tell people what God has done in my life.  God has given me the love and grace to be out of the gay lifestyle for three and a half years now.  That is just the frame of His testimony in me.  The masterpiece He has created within that frame has been given freedom from abusive relationships, manipulation of everyone around me, guilt, shame, anger, doubt, setting expectations beyond reach, dishonesty, and other struggles.  He has taken all my sin, dipped it in red, and made me white as snow.  My life has gone from chaos to peace, from despair to hope, from guilt and shame to honor, and from sin to salvation.  I am also happy to say He has taken me from strength and independence to weakness.  For in my weakness, He is made strong.

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Let’s Pray:

Most gracious and heavenly Father, we are so in awe of all You have done for us.  Of the grace, mercy, and love You have unconditionally given each one of us.  Thank You for Your healing from all things we have struggled with in our own might.  Lord, as we continue to seek You, show us how to be that light that will not be hidden, shine through us so others will see all Your glory.  Help us to spread Your message of hope and freedom.  Let our lives be that living testimony for You.  Lord, bless each person who has joined this study with Your healing power. Restore within their lives anything that has been damaged or destroyed.  Your word says that You will replace what the locusts have eaten. Father, we stand on Your word in agreement.  We love You, Lord, and give all the honor and glory to You.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

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If you would like to send a private message to Laurie in regards to this blog, please email her at Laurie@girlfriendscoffeehour.com

 

Life’s Healing Choices: Chapter 7 Review (pp 205-223)

■Realize I am not God

■Earnestly believe that God exists, that I matter to Him, that He has the power to help me recover

■Consciously choose to commit all my life and will to Christ’s care and control

■Openly examine and confess my faults to myself, to God, and to someone I trust

■Voluntarily submit to every change God wants to make in my life and humbly ask Him to remove my character

■Evaluate all my relationships.  Offer forgiveness to those who have hurt me and make amends for harm I’ve done to others, except when to do so would harm them or others

■RESERVE A DAILY TIME WITH GOD FOR SELF-EXAMINATION, BIBLE READING AND PRAYER IN ORDER TO KNOW GOD AND HIS WILL FOR MY LIFE AND TO GAIN THE POWER TO FOLLOW HIS WILL

■Y

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GCH_Colossians 3_16

 

This week we have discussed how to stay on the path, finish the race, and maintain momentum in order to grow in our relationship with Christ and leave our past behind.  When I was just walking away from my past, I remember waiting and wanting God to really show Himself—not just show Himself, but REALLY show Himself to me.  I can only imagine the things He tried to show me or places He wanted me to go to that, because I was waiting for the BIG show, I missed out on blessings.  Then I got discouraged and that’s when the enemy wanted to swoop down and distract me.  The little whispers of “You’re not worthy enough,” or “See, you really didn’t recover from that.”  Recovery is not always seeing the BIG shows but listening, spending time with God, and beginning to know who He really is.  The following Scriptures are just a few that show God’s power through the smallest of things—or what we see as small things:

Be still and know that I am God. 

Psalm 46:10

Listen to this, O Job; Stand still and consider the wondrous works of God.

Job 37:14

And if you leave God’s paths and go astray, you will hear a Voice behind you say, ‘No this is the way: walk here.’

Isaiah 30:21

And after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire, and after the fire a still small voice. 

1Kings 19:12

If you go back to read those Scriptures, look at the words used for us to see God’s power:  be still, stand, hear, walk, and the still small voice of God.  We need to seek Him through our prayer time, Bible reading, and begin knowing who He really is and be thankful for all that He has brought us through.  Each one of us has come through a different fire and been refined at different places, but God’s miracles and promises are Yes and Amen!!  Believing that is truly how we can avoid relapse!!

Monday: We discussed the four patterns of relapse – Complacency; Confusion; Compromise and Catastrophe.  If we become too comfortable and start believing we are ok, or that we don’t need to stay the course, then the enemy can quickly get a foothold and start the doubt, confusion, and compromise.  Then we start heading directly for CATASTROPHE!!  God has such a bigger plan for each one of you.  Stay the course.

Tuesday: Leslie talked with us about the causes of relapse—we revert to our own willpower; we ignore the choices; we try to recover without support; and we become prideful.  We cannot stress enough how important it is to have support through this process.  Even when you come to the end of the study, it is important to remember to keep your support person who will stay with you to the end.  Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed.  If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in trouble (Ecclesiastes 4:9, 10).   Then Leslie made an excellent statement: ‘Our greatest weakness is often unguarded strength.’  If we get to the point we think we have it, be careful – don’t let your guard down, don’t take your armor off – guard yourself with His strength and power.

Wednesday: Kim started us off midweek with: “We must plant ourselves at His feet daily. It’s like water for us, friends. He is our Stronghold now and what an awesome Stronghold!” Can you imagine going without anything to drink for more than a day? Or a week? Or a month?  So why try to go without our Living Water for a day?!?  He is just waiting to transform and renew your mind.  He longs to restore all we have lost from our past.  Sound good?  So what do we have to do?  Rely on Him; He will restore your soul.

Thursday: Amy brought it back to us with pray about it, write about it and share about it.  The method of praying scripture will be such a refreshment to your daily prayer life.  Talking to God about His word and using it personally in your life can bring so much more freedom and gives you more insight into who He is.  When you are praying, stop and listen for that still small voice to speak—don’t be in such a hurry or routine, you pray through and move on. Take time to write about the four areas we discussed: physical, emotional, relational and spiritual.  Are you hurting? Tired? Angry?  Listen to how you are reacting to others and are you relying on God?  Once you have taken the time to write about it then share with your accountability partner if you are having any difficult areas; also remember what is very important:  CELEBRATE THE VICTORIES no matter how small you may think them to be.

As we take time to reflect this weekend and begin to prepare for the last week, take time to look back in your journals and see how far God has brought you in this healing.  Begin to thank Him for bringing you through your past and into the present with hope for the future.  Thank Him for being the awesome God He is, thank Him for others He has placed in your life, thank Him for your recovery, and thank Him for your church.  Remain in this ‘attitude of gratitude’ through this next week as we embark on how He wants us to use our recovery.

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Let’s Pray:

Most gracious Father, we come to You with humble and grateful hearts as we end this week.  Father, I thank You for each one of these amazing women in this study.  Keep them safe, guard their hearts, and help them to rejoice in their healing.  Lord, help us to set aside the distractions of this world to focus and listen to Your voice, whether it is the BIG show or the still small voice.  Help us to understand what You have planned for each one of us and prepare us for this.  Let others see You through our words and actions.  We thank You for Your perfect grace and forgiveness.  Father, as we continue on this race help us to keep humble giving all the glory and honor to You.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!!

Your Assignment:
We have talked about celebrating the victories, no matter how small.  We would love to celebrate with you.  After reading this, if you are comfortable, share what victories you have had through this study.

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If you would like to send a private message to Laurie in regards to this blog, please email her at Laurie@girlfriendscoffeehour.com

Life’s Healing Choices: Chapter 7 – Maintaining Momentum (pp 205-208)

Reserve a daily time with God for self-examination, Bible reading and prayer in order to know God and His will for my life and to gain the power to follow His will.

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So if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!
1 Corinthians 10:12

This week we are going to focus on maintaining momentum on this road to recovery.  If you don’t keep your guard up, and allow God to be in control, you could relapse.  Many think the word relapse is only for the alcoholic who has taken a drink or the drug addict who went back to the street drugs.  Relapse simply means to fall or slide back into a former state.  This could be anything – anger, guilt, depression, overeating – whatever your hurt, habit, or hang-up is.  Chapters 7 and 8 help us to live out our recoveries for the rest of our lives.  It is time to look back at the previous weeks and see that we are no longer in denial…we have made our inventory of the hurts, habits, and hang-ups in our lives…we have done our best at making amends…and now we have the desire to grow closer to Jesus Christ who has brought us through the fire. Sit back and realize the growth you have each made in the past weeks and the healing God has done.  Be proud of how hard you have worked and the freedom you are beginning to feel.

In our book, John Baker outlines four predictable patterns of relapse:

Ø  Complacency

Ø  Confusion

Ø  Compromise

Ø  Catastrophe

First, relapse begins when we become comfortable.  When we have talked with others regarding our issues, begun working through them, have made amends and feel we are making some steps forward—we begin to become comfortable.  How many of you have had a cold or flu and received medication for 10 days from the doctor?  After six days you begin feeling back to normal.  So what do we do? We stop taking the medication, we keep on our regular routine and three days later we relapse.  We then wonder what happened?  Why did the medicine not work?  Just as with good medicine, continuing to seek the Lord daily, keeping up with our prayer and Bible reading tim,e and talking with our trusted friend will help us keep our focus on the race, so we can, like Timothy, say: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith  2 Timothy 4:7.

If we start becoming too comfortable and do not immediately get back on track, we can move into the second phase—confusion.  We can begin rationalizing and thinking, “Maybe it wasn’t that bad,” or “Maybe I can do this myself.” When I look back at the 35 years I was in the alternative lifestyle, I lost count of how many times I rationalized or tried to walk away on my own.  Either I would rationalize that the lifestyle was not wrong and I could continue, or I would try to walk away with no help.  I did not want to ask for any help and I did not think I needed God’s help.  After all I was an independent, hard-working person that could take care of me.  Wrong!!! Every time I attempted to walk away on my own, I fell right back into the tangled mess.

Then what do we do? Go right back to the place where temptations are the strongest.  We compromise and go frequent the bars, back to the internet, down the cookie and donut aisle, back to the one person or place that was unsafe to our healing.  It may start with little things, oh, just one drink – just one website – just one pull on the slot machine – just one cup of coffee with that one person.  Then before we know it, the snowball becomes an avalanche.  We are spinning into…

CATASTROPHE!! 

The time where we actually go right back to the old hurts, habits, and hang-ups.  The anger, resentments, depression, guilt, and shame come back.  We go back to the old catalyst that was controlling our lives.

Each time I tried on my own to walk away from the lifestyle I would be strong at first.  My anger toward that person drove me to be determined to succeed.  I was in control – I could do this!! I would go to church, because in my heart I knew what I was doing was wrong.  Each time I was at church the message was just for me.  Ever been there?  I just knew all those around me and my pastor knew exactly where I was and what I was trying to walk away from.  I would start feeling stronger, so I would work harder, take care of my boys harder, clean my home harder – all I was doing were actions to avoid really dealing with the root.  I still thought – “I can do this!!”

Then when things started stabilizing and I felt stronger, I would slip away from church, continue to work hard, but not so hard on walking away – just avoidance.  This is when the enemy loves to mess with us.  I would think, “‘Well, maybe this isn’t wrong.  After all society is more accepting.  My friends are still my friends, maybe I will just make one call.  Just to see how they are doing…I mean, I am just showing how I care about someone.”

CATASTROPHE!!

I walked right back into my avalanche.  Next thing I knew, I was full-blown back into the lifestyle I had thought – “I can do this!!”

When life had come to the point that I was tired of trying on my own, I realized I needed help to make this stick.  My desire was to walk away from the gay lifestyle into a life close to God.  How was I going to do that?  First, I turned to trusted individuals who would listen and be strong in keeping me in God’s word.  I had to reserve a daily time with Him.

Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. Mark 14:38

I had to spend that time alone, listening to what the Lord would say to me.  Praying and asking His guidance and direction to stay away from being comfortable. “But if not, then listen to me; be silent, and I will teach you wisdom” Job 33:33.   Daily, I would put on His armor (Ephesians 6:10-18) so I would not compromise or walk back into my areas of temptation.  Finally, as I listened, prayed, spent time in His word and with Him I started seeing the healing He was bringing into my life.  I would then spend time rejoicing with Him and sharing with others the joy He brought into my life.  I am thankful He allows me to continue to serve Him and tell others of His testimony in my life.  As you continue on this journey I will leave you today with one additional scripture:

Romans15_13

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Let’s Pray:

Father, we come to You today so thankful for Your love and grace in our lives.  We admit we have tried so many times to do this changing on our own.  Today we are laying this burden at Your feet, we need Your help, so we do not get comfortable or begin to compromise our lives.  Remind us, Lord, to walk closely to You daily, listen to Your voice, seek Your direction, pray for healing, and rejoice as You bring us through the fire.  Lord, we pray Your word that we may be filled with joy and peace, that we may trust in You, and we thank You for the hope we have by the power of Your Holy Spirit.  Again, we give all glory and honor to You, Father.  In Jesus Name, Amen!

Your Assignment:

Throughout this study we have talked about spending quiet time with Him.  Have you developed that quiet time?  Also, do you take the time to rejoice through the victories, no matter how small?  If so, please share with us how you have done that.

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If you would like to send a private message to Laurie in regards to this blog, please email her at Laurie@girlfriendscoffeehour.com

Life’s Healing Choices: Chapter 6 Review (pp. 166-186)

■Realize I am not God

■Earnestly believe that God exists, that I matter to Him, that He has the power to help me recover

■Consciously choose to commit all my life and will to Christ’s care and control

■Openly examine and confess my faults to myself, to God and to someone I trust

■Voluntarily submit to every change God wants to make in my life and humbly ask Him to remove my character

■EVALUATE ALL MY RELATIONSHIPS. OFFER FORGIVENESS TO THOSE WHO HAVE HURT ME AND MAKE AMENDS FOR HARM I HAVE DONE TO OTHERS, EXCEPT WHEN TO DO SO WOULD HARM THEM OR OTHERS.

■R

■Y

LHC_Chapter6

How much or how many times do we have to forgive?  Let’s take a look at the story where Peter asked Jesus the same question.  Jesus told Peter about the story of the man who owed the king a large sum of money.  The king wanted to settle the account, but the man could not pay. The king showed compassion and forgave the man’s debt.  This same man went out to someone who owed him money, much less of a sum than what he owed the king, and tried to choke the man, demanding he pay upThis is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart Matthew 18:35.  Those may seem like harsh words; however, having unforgiveness in our hearts hinders our relationship with God and others.  When you think about it, that then hinders our following the first two commandments: Love God, love others.

So, let’s review the week:

Monday: We discussed the three reasons why we should forgive others. Because God has forgiven you, because resentment doesn’t work and because you’ll need forgiveness in the future.  That through our accepting the fact that Jesus came to earth, suffered and died on the cross for our sins and was raised to sit with our Father, we then have to believe He said, “It is finished.”  Meaning it is finished for each one of us.  We do not need to worry, carry resentments of others or unforgiveness in our hearts!  We can let go and let God!!  Imagine the peace and freedom that comes with that.

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
Romans 8:1

Tuesday: Leslie talked with us about the 3 R’s in the book: reveal your hurt, release the offender, and replace your hurt with God’s peace.  To reveal our hurt is the easy part, but release the offender?  As Leslie said, “Yeah right, I need to forgive someone who hurt me so badly? They are the ones who had broken my heart in so many ways and did not care at all about it, why should I forgive them?”  How exactly do we do that?  We have to love our enemies, pray for them, and bless them.  Finally, we have to turn it over to God.  By doing so, He will help us to forgive and love them.

With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.
Mark 10:27

Wednesday: Kim discussed how we must stop looking inward and start looking upward.  “It’s been about us for so long. It’s time that it is about someone else or Someone Else. It’s time our lives reflect Whose we are.”  Yes it is.  We need to spend time in prayer and ask God to show us who we need to make amends with and how we make those amends – whether in person, via letter, or the ‘empty chair.’  Our hurts, resentments, and sins are in the past; aren’t you ready to leave them there? Love this: Freedom is yours. Let Him lead you into deliverance. You’ve changed from victim to victor!!

Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled.
Hebrews 12:14, 15

Thursday: Amy takes us into praying, writing, and sharing about what we have worked through so far.  By asking God to help us both forgive those who have hurt us and make amends to others, we will find freedom because He will guide us in releasing the resentments we have built up for so long.  Writing about these issues helps us see them as real.  It helps you see your responsibility clearly when you write them down and review.  Finally share about it.  It is very important for you to share your inventory with a trusted accountability partner.  This will help you develop a safe plan in making your amends or offering forgiveness.  One thing to remember when making amends or offering forgiveness is that your part is to take your forgiveness or amends to the person.  You cannot control their response.  Freedom comes when we step out in faith to free our hearts from the hurts or offenses we have had.  God will honor that, and give you peace and freedom.

This step is vital in the peace and freedom God has to offer each one of us.  I know I keep saying this but He does want to give us the desires of our hearts and in abundance.

The Lord is righteous in all his ways and faithful in all he does. The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.  He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them. Psalms 145:17-19

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Let’s Pray: 

Father, we are so thankful for the grace and love You have given to each one of us.  You are an amazing God and we give You all the honor in what You have done in our lives.  Lord, we are asking now that You lead us through this step of offering forgiveness and making amends.  Help us to forgive those we need to and let go of the resentments we have held onto.  Give us the words to say when we make amends to those we have hurt. Father, I ask that You also heal those we have hurt and go before us in making a way for reconciliation.  Heal the hurt hearts of each one reading this, Lord, and give peace and freedom in their life.  We do love You, Lord, and stand in awe of what You have done and what You are about to do.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!!

Your Assignment:  

Continue praying that God will guide you in offering forgiveness and making amends in a manner that will give freedom to you and those you speak with.  If you have made amends and would be comfortable, please share your comments below.  Pray for all those in this study as we take these steps together.

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If you would like to send a private message to Laurie in regards to this blog, please email her at Laurie@girlfriendscoffeehour.com

Life’s Healing Choices: Week 6 – Repairing Relationships By Making Amends (pp175-181)

I made amends (or attempted to make amends) to someone I wronged, not directly, but by allowing others to do them harm and not stepping up and standing up for what is right. It’s just as wrong to stand by and watch someone you love take abuse at the hands of friends, both of our friends. It was a long time ago yet I felt the Holy Spirit nudge me to make peace with her. To apologize for not standing up for her; for not stopping the madness but watching it happen, maybe even enjoying it. It didn’t turn out well—my amends. Venom spewed from her side and I was left with more questions than answers.

The incident was years ago but to her it may as well been yesterday.  Aren’t mamas that way when their children get hurt? But amends aren’t about reactions, are they? They’re about action on our part. It’s about taking responsibility, and actually accepting, admitting what we did was wrong. We hurt someone else, whether sober or not, we did it. God calls us as His children to ask forgiveness from our peers. We may not get the warm fuzzies from the person we are apologizing to. We must not do this for ourselves or our own recognition, like “look how great Kim is for apologizing” or “Kim really has it together!” It’s been about us for so long. It’s time that it is about someone else or Someone Else. It’s time our lives reflect Whose we are. Now that we have established THAT we need to make amends, we have to look at HOW to go about it in a way that most represents God’s way.

Obviously we must spend more time in prayer over each one and let the Holy Spirit really guide and direct us on who we need to contact and how. (Don’t you love the “empty chair” approach and the “fake letter?”) Be careful though not to use these for the ones that deserve actual contact. The book gives us certain situations for which these methods are the only appropriate choice. This is between you and God. Use His guidance. First clear your mind, empty to fill, and let Him speak through you. Your day of freedom is here, deliverance from your regrets and mistakes. You’ve really allowed God to empower you to do the right thing—admit your wrongs.

From this point on, the past is the past and the future is wide open. The baggage of yesterday has been dropped. Oh yes, there will be more amends made along the way, and you will still have to apologize for mistakes to come and wrongs you will do, but the key now is not to hold resentments and to always promptly admit when you are wrong.

If you borrowed, return it. If you need to come clean with the law, do so. If you owe money, pay it. Let’s be who He created us to be and let’s be the light to others around us, who are still in darkness. We can guide others to Him by living our amends. For isn’t that the best way—to live out our apologies?

Let’s be different now and desire different lives than the old one. And most of all, may we desire what He wants for us!  So, how ‘bout that list? Ready to start writing and righting?

Freedom Is Yours

 

Scriptures that apply:

Matthew 5:23, 24

Job 11:13,15 and 16

Hebrews 12:15

Romans 12:18

Luke 6:33

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Let’s Pray:

Dear Lord Jesus, we praise You.  You never change.  You’re the same yesterday, today and forever. Thank You for empowering us to do more than we ever could without You. Guide us as we make lists of our wrongs.  May we repent and release them to You. Speak to us, remind us what relationships need repairing and then give us the words to speak and when. For You bring healing to all. You make all things new.  The ones who refuse us, Lord, may we hand them over to You.  We love You. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.

Your Assignment:

Look up these verses and pray them to Him. Praying His word to Him is so powerful. Allow Him to speak through you as you make your lists and follow through with repairing relationships. Talk to your accountability partner about this. Let us know how it’s going! Remember we are praying for you!

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If you would like to email Kim directly in regards to this blog, please email her at Kim@GirlfriendsCoffeeHour.com

 

Life’s Healing Choices: Chapter 6 – Repairing Relationships (pp 167-171)

Choice 6:

Evaluate all my relationships.  Offer forgiveness to those who have hurt me, and make amends for harm I’ve done to others, except when to do so would harm them or others.

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LHC_Chapter6

This week we are going to look back at our inventory and learn how to repair the damage we have seen in our relationships.  Whether the damage was what we have done to others or what others have done to us, there is one way to repair—through forgiveness.

There are three reasons the book discusses why we should forgive others.

  1. Because God has forgiven you
  2. Because resentment doesn’t work
  3. Because you’ll need forgiveness in the future

Because God has forgiven you – Have you truly accepted God’s forgiveness?  I know for so long I felt I was not worthy of His forgiveness.  Have you accepted that Jesus’ death on the cross paid for all our sins? John 19:30 states Jesus exclaimed from the cross, “It is finished.”  No matter what our sin or how badly we have hurt others, God’s grace is sufficient to forgive completely.  Remember the woman who entered Simon’s home while he was having dinner with Jesus? She took an alabaster box of oil, washed His feet with her tears and anointed His feet with the oil.  When Simon criticized her, Jesus told him, “Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much.  But to who little is forgiven, the same loves little (Luke 7:47). Jesus then told her that her sins were forgiven and that her faith had saved her.  This woman knew her sins were great, but also knew the greatness of God’s mercy.  She had accepted His forgiveness and been set free.

Because resentment doesn’t work – This second reason to forgive is all about letting go.  Let go of the pain of the past hurts from others.  If you hold onto those hurts or resentments, they will hold you prisoner.  When you release them, you are free…the doors open and you walk out.

  • Resentment is unreasonable: Resentment can build up into anger.  When we are angry, the only person hurting is ourselves.   We lose sleep, we don’t eat, we overeat, we start becoming more tempted by the addictions that God had removed and we snap out at those around us whom we love.  Let Go and Let God!!
  • Resentment is unhelpful: Can all that we are holding onto really help anything now or in the future?  When we become stressed, it affects all our life—our work, our home, our friends, our loved ones.  Let Go and Let God!!
  • Resentment is unhealthy: The book likened resentment to cancer.  When I read that I went back to when I received the call I had cancer.  I had dropped 30 pounds in 30 days and could barely walk.  After many tests, they had diagnosed me with stage 3 cancer.  That call knocked my feet out from under me.  If resentment is like that I want it to be taken from me, just as God healed me of cancer.

Because you will need forgiveness in the future – There have been and will always be days when we are going to need God’s or someone else’s forgiveness.  When the book stated ‘you cannot receive what you do not give,’ that one statement hit home for me. If I do not forgive other’s I will not receive forgiveness.  So wait, if I do not forgive, I will not receive my Father’s forgiveness.  That is a hard one!  But when you look at it, like all other areas of our lives, we need to take that first step.  If there were 1,000 steps, then yes, God will take the 999 others to get to us, but we have got to take that first step.  To receive salvation, we had to ask.  To receive baptism, we had to believe.  To receive healing, we have to believe.  So to receive forgiveness, we have to forgive.

In my walk out of the alternative lifestyle, I did my inventory and made amends with many people.  You see, as others are making their inventory of how others hurt them, mine was on the other side.  I did much of the hurting.  My choices destroyed my relationships with family and friends.  My choices destroyed four marriages, including my own.  I broke off an engagement at the age of 19, left my husband later at the age of 27, lost custody of my oldest son ( he was 3) at the age of 28…see where I am going?  Although there were those that did hurt me, my laundry list was long.  So the forgiveness I longed for was much greater than any I had to give.

My asking for forgiveness from others was the first, and I had to admit, the easiest.  Sure, there were those that hurt me and I did forgive them, but the hardest parts of forgiveness for me were to accept God’s forgiveness and to forgive myself.  The guilt of my choices was really deep.  I had a difficult time accepting that God had forgiven me.  Through years of destroying relationships with my parents, siblings, friends, ruining marriages—anyone who tried to care was quickly tossed to the side.  After all of the hurt I had caused, how could God forgive me?  I was not worthy; I did not deserve His mercy.

Exactly! Mercy is undeserved merit.  Mercy is not earned, He freely gives it.  We serve an amazingly compassionate God. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” Hebrews 4:15-16.

His life on earth, death on the cross and resurrection to the right hand of the Father is the reason we receive His mercy for our past and grace for our future.  I had to step up to His throne and boldly receive His forgiveness.  It took some time for me to realize He died for me too.  When He said, “It is finished,” He meant for me, too.  If you are having a hard time accepting God’s forgiveness, try this.  Put your name in front or behind that statement Jesus made. “________, it is finished.”

Once I received God’s forgiveness, He began nurturing me to forgive myself.  Jesus wants an intimate relationship with us.  He wants us to bring all our burdens, hurts, guilt, and shame to Him.  I love The Living Bible translation of this verse, it make this so personal. Come, let’s talk this over! Says the Lord; no matter how deep the stain of your sins, I can take it out and make you as clean as freshly fallen snow.  Even if you are stained as red as crimson, I can make you white as wool!  If you will only let Me help youIsaiah 1:18-19.  ‘Come, let’s talk’–-I can visualize Jesus saying–‘grab your coffee, let’s talk.’  He made the heavens and the earth (in six days), He set the stars perfectly in the sky, He walked me out of the gay lifestyle. He healed my cancer. He gave me two miracles through my sons. He put joy in my life through my brother. He gave me amazing family and friends and He has allowed me to share His testimony of my life with all of you.  How can I not listen and accept His forgiveness?   I urge each one of you to step boldly before His throne.  Take that one step and He will take the 999.

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
Romans 8:1

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Let’s Pray:

Father, we are so grateful to be able to talk with You.  To spend time with You.  Help us to take that one step toward forgiveness.  We admit there are times when it is hard, Lord, to forgive others, ourselves, or to accept Your forgiveness.  Help us to trust You when You say there is no condemnation, and that You will turn our sins as white as snow.  Father, You cannot lie and Your word says there is NO condemnation—we believe and receive that today.  Help us to walk in that, Lord, and be able to forgive and let go of any resentments we are holding onto.

Lord, as we go through this week, guide us to those we need to make amends with—let us talk when we need to and be quiet when we need to.  Open our hearts to hear from You and give us the strength and courage we need to take this step.  Heal our hearts from the hurts, Lord.  We love You, Father.  We give all the glory and honor to You.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Your Assignment:

When we are talking of forgiveness, which is hardest: Forgiving others?  Accepting God’s forgiveness? Or  forgiving yourself? (You can also go to our private Facebook page and share there, as well.)

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If you would like to send a private message to Laurie in regards to this blog, please email her at Laurie@girlfriendscoffeehour.com

Life’s Healing Choices: Chapter 5 Review (pp 129-148)

  • Realize I am not God
  • Earnestly believe that God exists, that I matter to Him, that He has the power to help me recover
  • Consciously choose to commit all my life and will to Christ’s care and control
  • Openly examine and confess my faults to myself, to God and to someone I trust
  • VOLUNTARILY SUBMIT TO EVERY CHANGE GOD WANTS TO MAKE IN MY LIFE AND HUMBLY ASK HIM TO REMOVE MY CHARACTER DEFECTS
  • E
  • R
  • Y

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Happy are those whose greatest desire is to do what God requires.
Matthew 5:6

This week as we moved into allowing God to make changes and transform our lives, I was constantly reminded of His armor in Ephesians 6:10-18. Now you may ask why?  Once we say “Yes, Lord, I am ready for you to take control” the enemy will try to change our minds or put hurdles in the way.  So, ‘Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes’ Ephesians 6:10, 11.

Monday, we discussed where our character defects came from.  Biologically or through our chromosomes we inherited traits, good or bad.  Some of these traits spun us into our addictions, hurts, habits, and hang-ups. We then looked at how our environment shaped some of our behaviors. Finally, we realized although we cannot change our chromosomes or some of the environmental factors, we have made choices that have driven us into our addictions or habits.

Aren’t we thankful He has made us a new creation—it’s like Play Doh.  Remember when you were younger and made different objects with Play Doh? Catch this visual: God taking your old person and squeezing it—squishing all the imperfections out—then carefully and graciously He creates a masterpiece out of the same clay, but with His hands, as He wants us to be.

Tuesday, Leslie brought it with her testimony of staying wrapped up in her defects because they were comfortable.  It is scary to look at the world outside our comfort zone.  So as we look at the question, “Why does it take so long to get rid of our character defects?” the real answer: (please listen very carefully, ladies…) SATAN IS A LIAR!!! There is no truth in him. Well put Leslie!!  So, let’s counteract that with Jesus’ words, “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32).  Yes, when we turn our control over to the One who has control of the universe, it will set us free!!  Free from our character defects, free from our confusion, free from satan’s lies!

Wednesday, Kim talked with us about cooperating with the changes God is going to bring into our lives.  Our addictions, hurts, habits, and hang-ups are only a symptom—that there is something much deeper we have to allow Him to come transform within us.  But we first have to get to know Him.   She explained to us her need to find out who she truly was without the addiction.  God sent her a dear friend to help her through; He will always be faithful!  We also have to be faithful, focus on Him, pray and read His Word.  Kim said, “A simple prayer that has become a daily for me is this: ’empty me of me so that I can be filled with You.’”  Finally, Kim reminded us that our character defects cannot be improved; we have to allow Him to remove them.

Thursday, Amy took us to pray about it, write about it and share about it.  We need to remember that things cannot be fixed or changed all at once.  Ask God to show you where to start.  Pray that He will transform your mind and heart and begin to change those defects—as the book says, “one bite at a time.”   Then along with writing in your journal put some Scriptures around that have helped you through this journey.  When you are reading the Scriptures make them personal and apply it to your life as an affirmation.  Finally, how is your progress going with an accountability partner?  Have you shared your inventory with them? If you have, then begin sharing that one defect that God showed you to begin with.  Be open, honest, and trust that through your sharing He will bring you much freedom.  Remember through this process: “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another Proverbs 27:17.   

Today, I was going to end here with the review, but last night my son and I decided to go to a different church service. Sometimes I still try to control things. After all I have for so many years, I turn it over to God, then I pick it back up and I play ‘ring around the rosie’ with Him for a while. At church, after an amazing praise and worship time, the kids were dismissed to their group and the pastor began speaking. Here is the title of his sermon:  Trusting God to Overcome Obstacles.  Really?!?  Ok, God I am listening!!!  He spoke about David and Goliath, about the Goliaths in our lives, whatever they may be. Whether they are marriage difficulties, financial issues, children with difficulties, alcohol—no matter the subject…they become our Goliath.

1 Samuel 17 tells us that David looked at this 9 foot 9 plus inch giant, took a sling and 5 smooth stones and told him “I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel” (verse 45).  He then told Goliath “this day the Lord will deliver you into my hand” (verse 46). He then put a stone in his sling and defeated Goliath.  In the beginning of 1 Samuel 17 Goliath is called a champion.  With one stone, not 2, 3, 4 or 5, but one stone a shepherd boy defeated a ‘champion.’  Not because of his strength, his ability, his mind, his size—but because David trusted God would overcome his obstacle.  Sometimes we look to others for help or for approval in how we are trying to live our lives.  Other times we feel defeated before the battle is even started.  There is only One that we need on our side.  It doesn’t matter who counts us out…as long as Jesus counts us in.  Trust God for the Victory—believe He will change those defects and allow the freedom to begin filling your life.

GCH_2Cor5_17

Let’s Pray:

Most loving and gracious Father, we come to You today with open hearts, willing and ready to allow You to change the defects in our lives. Father, we know we cannot take this journey alone—please guide us, strengthen us, and transform our hearts and minds. Heal those hurts we have been hanging onto, remove the habits and hang-ups we have dragged along with us and fill those empty places with You.  We want so much, as Kim said, to be empty of ourselves and filled with You.  Lord, give us the courage to share these changes You are making in our lives.  Let us each be that light to another person for Your glory.

We thank You for preparing us for these next steps.  Help us to stay focused on You with open hearts and minds, willing to take the steps You show us.  Keep the enemy at bay through this, Father, and help us to stand strong. We love You, Lord, and praise Your Holy Name.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!!

Your Assignment:

Continue sharing with your accountability partner and in our private Facebook group, how the Lord is changing your hurts, habits, and hang-ups.

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If you are interested in joining us for the online Bible study, click HERE to sign up.  Once we receive your registration, we will email you further details.

If you would like to send a private message to Laurie in regards to this blog, please email her at Laurie@girlfriendscoffeehour.com

Life’s Healing Choices: Chapter 5 – The Transformation Choice

Voluntarily submit to every change God wants to make in my life and humbly ask Him to remove my character defects.

Happy are those whose greatest desire is to do what God requires.
Matthew 5:6

Woo-Hoo Ladies!!  You are absolutely awesome!  We have taken some amazing steps on this journey.  First admitting we had a problem and were absolutely powerless over it.  Then we began to understand that God could and will help us to overcome that hurt, habit or hang-up if we seek Him and turn our lives over to His care and control.  We started writing our spiritual inventory and are sharing our lives with a trusted person.  Wow – that is a lot of hard work and you should each be doing a praise dance with the Lord right now.  I know you may feel tired and think ‘no way, I’m going to take a nap.’  But take some time to realize you have come a long way in this journey and God is pleased. ‘But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.’ Hebrews 13:16

Now that you have realized what you want God to change or control, are you ready to let Him? Chapter 5 is all about change – now we all do not like this word.  It can be scary, fun or an adventure.  Moving forward into the unknown can be frightening, yet exciting.  I was so excited when the verse used for this process was Romans 12:1-2.  (These verses became my life verses over three years ago when I walked away from the gay lifestyle.) Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.  I mean I had just walked out of a lifestyle into a world of the unknown.  I had to walk away from almost all of my friends and change all the places I went to.  I had to look at myself and ask – who am I?  What do I even like now?  God began showing me that I was a new creation, my sins were forgiven and He loves me.  He was going to lead and teach me if I would do one thing.  Offer myself wholly to Him – keep my mind focused on Him and allow Him into my heart.  I was to keep away from the things of the past and renew my mind.  That is where He wanted me – if I became willing, He is always able.

Let’s break those verses down into the character defects John Baker talks about in the book.

Biological/Chromosomes: “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God….” We inherited some of our strengths, weaknesses, physical and emotional traits from our parents. We did not choose our parents, DNA or some of our tendencies toward addictions.  However, none of these inherited traits give us the right to some of the behaviors we have chosen.  We are to offer our bodies as sacrifices to God.  We are to be willing…Teach me to do Your will, For You are my God; Your Spirit is good. Lead me in the land of uprightness. Psalm 143:10

Sociological/Circumstances: “Do not conform to the pattern of this world….” Where we were raised, the environment, what we saw, how those around us behaved all contributed to our character. Again, we did not have the opportunity to choose how those around us behaved or what our parents taught us.  These behaviors or experiences actually shaped some of our hurts, habits or hang-ups.  Out of our reactions, coping skills or hurt – we stepped into certain habits or addictions.  As I stated before, when I walked out of my lifestyle, I had to walk away from many people, activities and places. We are not to conform back to our hurts, habits or hang-ups.  ‘Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming.  As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance.’ 1 Peter 1:13, 14 

 Theological/Choices:  “But be transformed by the renewing of your mind….” We can change the choices we have made that have driven us into hurts, habits or hang-ups.  When we remove one of our old habits, we must be able to replace it with a good choice.  Spend quiet time in His word, prayer time, volunteer at your church or a ministry in the area, go to a Bible study, (depending upon your hurt, habit or hang-up) find a support group in your area – these are a few things I found that transformed my mind into healthy habits.  Luke 5:36 talks about not putting a piece of new cloth onto an old garment, the old will tear.  Also, the new piece will not match the old.  2 Corinthians 5:17: If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.  The old has passed, behold all things have become new.

We have become new creations by an amazing Creator!  Are you ready and willing to allow God to take away those defects that you are holding onto?  Another way to phrase that question – are you ready and willing to become free of what has been dragging you down?  Make the choice.  He is ready to step in and give you your heart’s desire.

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Let’s Pray:

Most Gracious Father, we are humbly coming before You with open hearts.  We know we have made choices that have not been pleasing to You.  Help us to be completely willing to allow You to change all our shortcomings.  Teach us, Lord, to do Your will, to not conform to what the world may show us, but to allow You to lead us away from some of our old habits and into Your new path.  Your Word says to be strong and courageous; Lord, we want to be strong through these changes.  Heal the hurts of each one of us and help us to be the people You want us to be.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Your Assignment:

We have talked about being willing to allow God to take control and change or remove our character defects.  Have you been able to release control? After you have read the blog, go to our private Facebook page and share a positive change you have seen in your life through your releasing control.

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If you are interested in joining us for the online Bible study, click HERE. Once we receive your registration, we will email you further details.

If you would like to send a private message to Laurie in regards to this blog, please email her at Laurie@girlfriendscoffeehour.com

 

Life’s Healing Choices – The Joy of a Pure Heart

Openly examine and confess my faults to myself, to God, and to someone I trust.

Happy are the pure in heart. For they shall see God.  Matthew 5:8

 What a promise we are given – we shall see God!!  Not might or possibly, but we SHALL see God!!!  So how do we become pure in heart?  First what is   the definition of pure? Webster’s dictionary says it is ‘unmixed with any other matter.’  John Baker says ‘a pure heart is one that is free and clean of impurities.’ So how do we get to a pure heart?  How do we get our heart, unmixed with anything but God?  After all we all do have regrets, guilt, anger and any combination of many hurts, habits or hang-ups.  How do we recover from these and become pure in heart? How do we let go of our excuses, blame, guilt and shame?  We go to His word and read His promises:

“Come now, and let us reason together,”
Says the Lord,
“Though your sins are like scarlet,
They shall be as white as snow;
Though they are red like crimson,
They shall be as wool.
Isaiah 1:18

Although we have regrets, guilt, anger, shame, He promises that if we are willing and obedient (v. 19) we will be as white as snow.  His love for us is so strong.  His grace so amazing! We will be pure in heart.

 I acknowledged my sin to You,
And my iniquity I have not hidden.
I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,”
And You forgave the iniquity of my sin.
Psalm 32:5

When we acknowledge we have this guilt, anger and blame, He immediately forgives.  Not later, not tomorrow, but immediately – as far as the east is from the west. He forgives.  Then His word says   – ‘I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go.’ Psalm 32:8

 

But before we can really clean our hearts, we have to look at what or why we need to clean up.  Don your cleaning rags ladies – it’s time to Clean House!!

 Chapter 4 discusses the three areas in which guilt can cause harm to our lives.

  1. Guilt destroys our confidence. Guilt causes us to worry about what others think, look over our shoulder to see who is really watching and wondering when our big secret will come out.  When I was living in the gay lifestyle, I was constantly looking around, wondering who would drive by and ‘out me.’  I lived in a small community where everyone knew everyone.  You know the kind where your neighbor could tell you what you bought at the store.  So, as you can imagine, unless I was behind closed doors, I was always on the lookout. My guilt was wearing me out!! When I walked out of  that lifestyle and ran to His arms, He welcomed me. It reminds me of the story in Luke 15: 10-32 of the prodigal son who went away from his father to find a ‘better life.’ After he had squandered all that he had, he went back to his father, realizing he had made mistakes.  He took his guilt and told his father to make him as one of the servants for he was not worthy.  What did his father do when he saw him?  He ran to him and prepared a party for his son who was lost: but now was found.  If we lay down the guilt and fear of our lives, and turn back to Him, He will meet us, clothe us in His best robe of righteousness and fill us with His grace – unmixed with any other matter.
  2. Guilt damages our relationships. Feeling guilty over our choices in life can cause us to over or under react to those around us. The guilt can cause us to overcompensate for others, runaway from building relationships and hide from those around us. Again, my guilt was so strong on how I dragged my children through the choice of lifestyle I made.  I overcompensated with material possessions; showered them with presents, food,   activities, all the while withholding the love they needed and deserved as   children. My guilt was destroying every relationship I had in my life.  How could this be made pure?  ‘And   they shall rebuild the old ruins; they shall raise up the former desolations   and repair the ruined cities, the desolations of many generations.’ Isaiah   61:4  If we will confess and move away from our guilt and fear, He will restore and rebuild our relationships – unmixed with any other matter.
  3. Guilt keeps us stuck in the past. Wow, this is a hard one isn’t it?  How do we get past the memories, reflections or regrets of our past?  As John Baker said, ‘it’s like driving a car and always looking in the rearview   mirror.’  I loved this visual! Can you imagine the chaos on the roadways if everyone was always focused behind them?  God may use our past to allow us to encourage others or to give testimony to His glory, grace and   healing.  But we are not to dwell in the past. Joyce Meyer often says, “Let God turn your mess into a message.”  God will take the ‘old you’ and make you new. “If anyone is in Christ he is a new creation; old things have passed   away; behold, all things have become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17 If we leave   our guilt and fears in the past, He will make us new – unmixed with any other matter.

In Psalm 51:10, David cried out to God:

 Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.

 Here he had committed adultery and had Bathsheba’s husband killed in battle. David murdered, lied, and betrayed his nation and almost each time we read about David he is doing something wrong.  He cried out to the Lord to create in him a clean heart.  Fast forward to Acts 13:22 when God had placed David as king and said ‘I have found David, the son of Jesse, a man after My own heart, who will do all My will.’ So, how do we become pure in heart like David? We repent, learn from our mistakes, become humble, teachable and turn our hearts completely toward God.  We become unmixed with any other matter.

We pray that our hands reach out as His would, our eyes see as His, our feet walk where He would walk and our hearts break as His would.  The things in our past are not as powerful as our Almighty God.  This step may seem pretty scary but which is scarier: continuing to live drag our past with us or feeling the freedom He has to offer?

The rest of this week Leslie, Kim and Amy will discuss how we can move forward and drop those bags of the past. I am going to leave you with an awesome song written from Psalm 51.  Enjoy and make it your prayer today.

 Let’s Pray:

http://youtu.be/bacXQPujfKI

In Jesus Name, Amen!

 

You’re Assignment:

Determine a quiet place, whether it is in your home, park or corner table at your favorite coffee shop.  Prepare your heart for the next step of beginning your inventory.  Go to our Facebook group and tell us where this place will be.  It may encourage or give ideas to others in our group.

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If you are interested in joining us for the online Bible study, click HERE.
Once we receive your registration, we will email you further details.

If you would like to send a private message to Laurie in regards to this blog, please email her at Laurie@girlfriendscoffeehour.com.