Just My Thoughts

Me or You?

Forgiveness is a matter of Lordship. You forgive not because your offender deserves it. You forgive not because what your offender did is okay. You forgive not because you are the bigger person. You forgive not because it’s easy or comfortable. You choose to forgive because, by the grace of God, you choose Jesus over yourself. You choose to obey Jesus, rather than to obey your emotions.

There’s a song I love by Group 1 Crew, called Wake Me Up (Amnesia). Listen to it. It’s a cool song. One of my favorite lines is:

“So who will I choose? Me or You?”

This is the choice we must face each time we are angry or hurt, needing to forgive another. Many times it’s not because we can’t, but because we don’t want to let go. We want to keep holding on to the anger, maybe because we don’t want our offender to get away with hurting us. We want justice. We want to be understood. We want to be proven right. (More on forgiveness here.)

But we must always go back to the question, Who is Lord of my life? Do I continue to sit on the throne of my heart, do what I want, when I want? Or do I rightfully give up the throne and let Jesus rule my heart? Who will I choose — ME and my emotions? or the HONOR of JESUS?

Most of the time difficult. But by the grace of God, never impossible.

 

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Eph 4:32

Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26

Just My Thoughts, Parenting, THE BRAINY BUNCH

Sometimes We Fail

We are imperfect human beings. When we have children, our imperfections show even more. Our character is tested every single day. Sometimes we conquer, sometimes we fail.

Did you know that our failures as parents are powerful teachers? When I fail, it gives me an opportunity to humble myself before God and before my children, and apologize to them. It shows them how much I care for them and love them. When we pray and repent to God together, it shows them that I TOO ANSWER TO GOD.

It teaches my children to forgive, to value their relationship with me more than my offense. It teaches them to love with no conditions.

When I fail and apologize, it gives me an opportunity to show them that even though I am an adult, I still make mistakes. I am not perfect. It helps my children see that they need not be perfect either. It takes the load of “high expectations” off their shoulders. It allows them to give themselves a break, especially when they are already frustrated and disappointed with themselves.

It then gives me the opportunity to teach them to rely on Jesus and ask for His help, just as I need His help to correct my mistakes. I, the parent, need Jesus too. I, THE PARENT, NEED JESUS MORE. We cannot live pleasing lives unto God without Jesus. We cannot be victorious over our failures, we cannot do better next time without Jesus. Moreover, we cannot have true joy, true peace, true love, and live full, exciting lives without Jesus.

It allows me to teach them that our need for Jesus does not dissipate over time. In fact, we need Him more and more as we grow older.

When I fail and apologize, it gives me an opportunity to teach my children that even though I or their daddy fail, the one person who will NEVER FAIL THEM is JESUS. He will never fail to keep His promises. He will never fail to love, care for, and protect them. He will never fail in showing them the truth. He will never fail in doing what is best for them. He will never give up on them. He will never leave or forsake them. They will always be beautiful in His eyes. They will always be His princesses. In Jesus, we will always have HOPE.

Sometimes we conquer, sometimes we fail. But when we fail, God is so kind and loving that He turns even those failures into victories.

FEATURED, Just My Thoughts, MY THOUGHTS EXACTLY, YOUTH MINISTRY

FORGIVE?

Last month in our victory group, we discussed about offense and forgiveness. Since it’s holy week, I thought it apt to share some of the things we talked about.

FORGIVENESS IS FOR YOU. When you forgive, it does not release the offending person, but it releases you. When you let go of the offense, you are letting God take over, making the person no longer accountable to you, but accountable to God. It releases you from your own anger, therefore frees you from the power of bitterness, and therefore frees you from any hold of the enemy.

FORGIVENESS IS A CHOICE. You cannot base forgiveness on how you feel. The desire to forgive may never come. It is a choice you need to make. It may take a while in certain cases, for the desire to follow, but your heart may never follow if you don’t decide in your mind to forgive first. Choose to forgive. God will supply you with the grace you need to follow through.

FORGIVENESS IS AN ACT OF HUMILITY. Sometimes we think we are doing the other person a favor when we forgive them. That’s not true forgiveness, because forgiveness operates in humility, not pride.

Other times, we withhold forgiveness because we are too proud. They may not deserve to be forgiven, but didn’t God forgive you too even when you didn’t deserve it? It takes humility to forgive.

FORGIVENESS IS AN ACT OF LOVE. It is an act of love toward the person who has offended you and it is an act of love for God. When you forgive, you make the person or your relationship with that person more important than the offense. When you forgive, you obey God’s command to forgive, sometimes even if it kills you, out of your love for Him. Forgiving doesn’t make the offense right, but IT MAKES JESUS LORD. It is such a powerful act that you hit all the commandments when you do it — love God and love others.

Many times, it is hard to forgive, especially when it’s the people close to us who hurt us. But I believe that the degree you know you are forgiven by God is directly related to the degree you forgive. The more grateful you are for God’s grace, love and mercy in your life, the more you will be willing to forgive others.

 

In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. Eph 4: 26-27

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:30-31

Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. Col 3:13

Just My Thoughts, Marriage, YOUTH MINISTRY

NO SECRETS!

IF YOU’RE ENGAGED, getting ready for this lifetime commitment with your fiance, with the wedding date set, knowing full well that God has brought the two of you together, here’s a tip for you that will save you a lot of heartache. NO SECRETS! If you have a dark or even not-so-dark past, you owe it to your fiance to tell them the truth. Why? Why do you have to dig up the past and share it? You’ve gotten over it, already healed from it. So why is it necessary? Exactly. You’re over it and are healed, so why not? Unless….. you’re still hiding something, or still unconsciously living in the past. Think about it. Yes it’s hard to come clean in the beginning and feelings may get hurt, but it’s the best way to let your future spouse know who you were and how far you’ve come (especially in cases like mine and King’s — engaged 6 months after meeting — click here for full story), and it’s the best way to test your own feelings, your character, and YOUR RELATIONSHIP as well.

Once your relationship stands the TEST OF REALITY, you’ll see that it’s the best way to prepare for your marriage. You are giving each other the opportunity to forgive one another, because like I said feelings may get hurt, depending on what happened in yours or your fiance’s past. You are creating a clean slate between the two of you. You are creating a CULTURE OF LOVE, honesty, trust, open communication, forgiveness, acceptance, humility, security/confidence, peace, unity — basics and essentials in a great marriage — as you enter into yours. You are laying down the groundwork.

I admit, I am no expert since I have been only married to King for a mere 6 years and 10 months, but this is something I personally felt I had to do before we got hitched. I had to swallow my pride and tell King the truth about my past. Because I have been completely transparent to him, there is none of the drama! No surprises, except the good kind. No reliving of the past, pointing fingers, counting of wrongs, or bitterness and resentment towards each other. Our marriage is not perfect, and like everyone else’s  it takes work and a whole lot of learning, but I believe in that aspect, we did good.

Having said that, I have an even GREATER TIP FOR YOUTH AND SINGLES. While you’re still young and single, or maybe even old(er) and single, BE WISE! Do things that need not be hidden. Have relationships that you need not be ashamed of in the eyes of men and in the eyes of God. Live a life that need not be kept secret. Imagine that you don’t have to come clean to your future spouse because you have NO SECRETS! The freedom, the joy! For both you and your fiance! It’s a great honor to God, a great gift to your future spouse, and the best gift to yourself. 🙂

My Kids, Parenting

Danae Learns Responsibility

One afternoon two weeks ago, Danae told me that they made something in school that involved cutting. The first time she shared her story, she just said that they made something. By evening, before going to bed, she told me that somebody cut her hair after making the craft. Curious, I asked her who it was. When she said she didn’t know, I immediately asked if it was her. And it was! She told me that when her teacher asked, she said it wasn’t her.

I wasn’t angry that she cut her hair (because thank God it wasn’t noticeable at all), but I told her that what she did was wrong. She shouldn’t have lied to her teacher about it, and she needed to apologize. She cried her eyes out. She didn’t want to apologize because she was afraid that her teacher will get mad (her words). She said she lied because she was afraid of her teacher. She was so upset that for the first time, she said that she did not want to go back to school anymore. I comforted her and assured her that I will be with her when she apologizes, that we will not do it in front of other people, and that her teacher will appreciate her honesty. After much talk, we settled it and she agreed. I did my part in accompanying her the next day and making sure that it was only her teacher listening, and Danae did her part.

What a great opportunity for our child to learn responsibility. Now we know for sure, that she will not cut her hair again OR lie about it again. We made her own up to her responsibility by letting her face her fear, admit the truth, and apologize for her mistake. She is only 5 but she is already starting to actually learn the value of honesty and integrity (also that lying is unacceptable in our family), learn the reality of actions and consequences, learn the power of her family’s love and support, and learn the freedom that forgiveness (asking for it & receiving it) and grace bring.

That day, my daughter acted like an adult. That day, my daughter made us so very proud.