Too Much Focus On Identity?

shame

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There are some amazing books that have been recently published on identity, and this seems to be a common thought in women’s ministries today.

But, is there too much of a focus on identity?

Has it become more self-focused rather than God-focused?

I recently read this article: http://faithit.com/dear-womens-ministry-stop-calling-me-beautiful-phylicia-delta/.

I liked this one line, in particular, that she said:

“They leave our churches knowing all about themselves, and knowing little about Christ.”

I commented the following in regards to her statement:

I liked this line in the article: “They leave our churches knowing all about themselves, and knowing little about Christ.” That is the key!!! There is a huge focus on identity because it absolutely makes a huge difference in our lives, BUT we can’t know who we are until we know Whose we are and that means knowing Who He is. That’s the issue.  So many Christians know a lot about God and still remain insecure. I believe the issue is because they haven’t gotten past just knowing about God to understanding how those pivotal truths relate to them in their every day moment by moment living. It’s knowing that in this very moment, God isn’t just merciful, but He is my mercy today. Identity is at a crisis today because as a whole, the world and even the church hardly knows God on a personal, intimate level (reality), and therefore, we behave as orphans, searching for belonging. I agree that so often our focus becomes then centered on just a more spiritualized version of New Age thinking: self-enlightenment and self-glorification rather than on understanding the greatness of God and the greatness of His love and grace for us!!! When you truly understand this, it doesn’t make you proud; it makes you humble. The more I realize the greatness of His love and grace towards me, the more secure I am and the more humble I am!!!

I personally believe that you will never walk fully as a daughter of God until you understand that you are a daughter of God and what that means, which is why knowing our true identities is crucial.

I also though strongly believe that, as the article I quoted from is pointing out, we cannot understand who we are without understanding Who He is.

I want to clarify too that we do need to understand our roots: we are sinners completely in need of a Savior, but if all we do is stay there, we actually have “forfeited” the purpose of the cross in our lives. 

Jesus came to save lost sons/sinners and to restore them as sons and heirs with Him! 

The purpose of the cross wasn’t to emphasize our pasts, our sinfulness, what was lost to us in the Garden of Eden, and what Satan on a daily basis tries to constantly rub in our faces.

The purpose of the cross is what was accomplished at the cross — which is our salvation, our eternity, our redemption, our forgiveness, and the fact that we are no longer sinners separated from God, but we are sons and daughters and priests and priestesses of the most High God!

Let me repeat that statement:

The purpose of the cross is what was accomplished by Jesus at the cross.

I want to end this by restating the last line from my comment because I believe this is the focus with which I want to end:

The more I realize the greatness of His love and grace towards me, the more secure I am and the more humble I am!!!

and…

“…we can’t know who we are until we know Whose we are and that means knowing Who He is.”

1 John 4:19

19 We love him, because he first loved us.

 

Random Notes But A Powerful Message!

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 Yesterday, the Lord encouraged me with many wonderful truths through His Word, devotionals, a message, and thoughts during a prayer meeting.  I wanted to share them with you.  Enjoy the following:

5/4/16 AM: Believe the Lord was speaking to my heart this morning.  He reminded me of the verse I was given for this year:

2 Corinthians 5:17

17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

Read in my devotional how we often want to go back — back to happier times.  God though always leads us forward.  I need to let go of the “if-onlys” and remember, “Today is fresh with no mistakes” (quote from Anne Shirley in Anne Of Green Gables), no misgivings, and no if-only.

5/4/16 early afternoon message:  “We often try to head towards freedom when God wants us to live from freedom.”  He is freedom!

It’s been said, “Freedom is experiencing the Presence of God.”  Amen!

“Grace empowers us to walk out the truth.”

Jesus asked the question, “Who do you say that I am?”  Pivotal question!  This will determine your entire belief system and how you live your life.  Who is Jesus to you?  It’s not what other people say; it’s not what the books say.  What do you believe about Jesus?  Who is He really to you?

Your ministry doesn’t validate who you are in Him.  Get ahold of who you are to Him and in Him.  Your “ministry” is not to find something to prove yourself.  It’s finding Jesus — having such a powerful/intimate relationship with Jesus Christ that it impacts everyone you meet.

We spend so much of our time waking up sin-conscience when we should be awaking Son-conscience.

“People aren’t your problem; you are.”

“You can be wrong about being right.”

“Instead of trying to sell people my fruit, why I don’t let them pick it?”  (sharing our faith)

“Let your roots go into the love of God.”

“Your family isn’t your problem; you are!”  (How many times do we blame others for our own lack of happiness and peace?  Our lack of peace and joy can only be blamed upon ourselves.  No one can take away your peace and joy, unless you allow it.)

Wherever you are shouldn’t be dark because you are there.   (Jesus in you!)

“Having a form of godliness is knowing a lot of God’s Word without the power of the Holy Spirit to apply it.”

“You can’t walk the Beattitudes out in the flesh.”  (Why so many don’t like them.)

False grace slips when there’s no relationship with Jesus — not the intimate knowing and being known.

“A lack of the body of Christ is in praying — not preaching.”

“Don’t bypass God to get a father figure.”

Co-labor with fellow Christians — don’t be co-dependent.

Heaven paid an infinite cost.  Why?  Because He values you!  The one who values the object is willing to pay the high price.  This is what gives the object worth.  Anything can be valuable or valueless.  It’s the buyer who determines the worth of the object.  Jesus determined our worth by paying the infinite price to redeem us!

1 John 1:7

But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.

“If you envy someone else, it means you don’t know who you are.” (Whose and therefore who you are…)

“Intimacy is that you know that you’re known.”  (truly known — all of you and yet accepted and loved)

“Live a life that is pleasing to the Lord — not because you have to but because you want to.”

“Pursue God at the cost of everything; God is worth it all!”

“If you’re on fire and you get put into the fire, you’ll be alright.  The fire is not the issue.  Trials aren’t the issue.”

“Heaven paid the highest price to revalue you.”

Wherever you go, there should be revival.

“Everyone is a target for the love of God, but not everyone wants to be.  You have to know who you are.”

“You’ll never love your neighbor unless you know who you are.”

5/5/16 AM devotional:

Read this this morning: “I will fight for you; you need only to be still. I know how weary you are, my child. You have been struggling just to keep your head above water, and your strength is running low. Now is the time to stop striving and let Me fight for you. I know this is not easy for you to do. You feel as if you must keep struggling in order to survive, but I am calling you to rest in Me. I am working on your behalf; so be still, and know that I am God. Quieting your body is somewhat challenging for you, but stilling your mind may often seem downright impossible. In your striving to feel secure, you have relied too heavily on your own thinking. This struggle to be in control has elevated your mind to a position of autonomy. So you need the intervention of the Holy Spirit. Ask Him to control your mind more and more — soothing you from the inside out. Take time to rest in the shadow of the Almighty while I fight for you.” (by S. Young)
5/5/16 another devotional:
Reading about Gideon…  He was a man blinded by his perceived limitations.  He relied on the physical rather than the spiritual.  He based his security on what was tangible.  He forgot or ignored the God-equation.  Following quote from Men & Women Of The Bible:
God’s grace and provision are more than enough [to compensate] for what we may lack.
This is true because God is El Shaddai — the all-sufficient God!  He is more than enough!
Gideon’s perspective revealed that he didn’t know his God.  He didn’t know his true self (what God created and died for us to be).
We are sometimes our own worst critic.
from Men & Women Of The Bible:
We are our own worst critic because we don’t know ourselves as God knows us and sees us!
What are we to God:
I am His inheritance!  Jesus brought me to the “throne room of His grace,” redeemed me, forgave me, and clothed me in His righteousness.
5/5/16 AM Bible study with my son:
 God looks at you in the light of His Word — not yours!
from “Men & Women Of The Bible”
So many amazing truths as seen in Ephesians 1:

Ephesians 1

Greeting

Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God,

To the saints who are in Ephesus, and faithful in Christ Jesus:

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Redemption in Christ

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.

In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, 10 that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both[a] which are in heaven and which are on earth—in Him. 11 In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, 12 that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory.

13 In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who[b] is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.

Prayer for Spiritual Wisdom

15 Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, 16 do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers: 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, 18 the eyes of your understanding[c] being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power 20 which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.

22 And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, 23 which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.

How secure is our salvation and position in Christ?  As secure and reliable as Christ and the Holy Spirit!  He sealed us by the Holy Spirit.  He brought our salvation about in Christ.  This is our security!

You accept this gift of salvation, and it is yours.

What is the price of one soul — your soul?!!!

Jesus said, “You are of infinite worth because He paid the ultimate, eternal, and infinite cost for you!”

No Waste With God

The concepts of forgiveness and redemption are familiar subjects among Christians.

Christians also talk about the reality of consequences that go along with the choices we make — both good and bad.

Consequences are unavoidable, and they can be very painful.

BUT…

No consequence is outside of the Sovereignty or Omnipotence of God. 

Nothing is outside of God’s redemption and His ability to work all things out for His good.

God redeems the seemingly useless experiences in our lives.  There is no “waste” where God is concerned.

Not only does God want to write His grace upon every moment of your present, but He also wants to write His grace upon every moment of your past.

There is no pain so great, no sin so dark, that God can’t write His love and grace upon it.

This is a message we so desperately need to hear when we are convicted of sin and carrying the weight of guilt and enduring hardships as a result of the consequences of our sins.

If we do not fully understand God’s grace and redemption, we can believe the lie that we have “gone too far to be used by God”. 

The truth is we are all “jars of clay”, sinners in need of God’s grace, forgiveness, and cleansing.

God doesn’t use us or forgive us based on our worthiness.  He uses and forgives us based on the merits of His Son, based on the completeness of His grace and love.

Forgiveness is never granted based on the recipients’ worthiness or goodness.  Forgiveness is always based on the character of the one offering it.

If you want the burden of guilt removed from your shoulders, then submit yourself to God, trust in His goodness, rest in the character of the One who offers you His forgiveness.

When you trust yourself completely to Him, He will redeem even your consequences. 

Nothing is outside of the grace and redemption of God.

Ephesians 1:7

In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace

An Act Of Worship

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Sometimes, it’s easier to “do” church, to “do” worship then it is to really worship. 

Ever been there? 

I have been there before, thinking I was so “righteous” in my worship because I could state certain “Church-ese” phrases so eloquently.  I have thought in the past that I was worshiping God because my manner was so “holy”.  I have thought I was worshiping God because I was in a place that appeared to be worshipful.

The truth is worship is never about the outward.  It’s not about the look or feel of a place.  It’s not about the people in the place.  It’s not about the appearance of the other worshipers — their sobriety or their demonstrative expressions of worship.  Worship isn’t limited to a specific emotion.  Worship isn’t limited to a place or a group of people.

Worship is about a Person.  It’s about Jesus.  It’s about God the Father who sacrificed His very Son to give us a tangible example of what love really is.

I Googled the definition of worship off Thesaurus.com.  The following list includes other words that describe worship:

According to these other words, worship expresses a heart attitude (awe, love, veneration, adulation, adoration, glory, praise, etc…).

Worship describes a heart attitude that then expresses itself in adoration, praise, service, love, prayer, devotion, etc…

Exodus 20:3

Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

God is to be the object of our worship.  Ultimately, He has the right to ask this of us as He is the One to Whom we owe our very lives, life, and eternity. 

Atheists refuse to recognize that there is a Sovereign Power that holds this universe together.  Yet, there is a “Force” keeping atoms from flying apart.  There is a Force that started matter/life in the beginning.

Even our very breaths pay homage to our Creator.  Here’s a quote from Jason Gray’s blog http://www.rabbitroom.com/2011/08/is-the-name-of-god-the-sound-of-our-breathing:

“…God’s name, YHWH, is comprised of aspirated consonants that, spoken, are the sound of breathing.”

So every time we breathe, our bodies literally say God’s name!  Is this just “happenstance,” or is it not significant to know that the God who created us would put His very name within each breath we take to remind us that our lives are truly and literally dependent upon His life within us?

Worship occurs every time we place ourselves in full surrender to God and hand over the reigns of control to Him.

So often we want everything on our terms — even our so-called “worship”.  We want to think God is limited to specific places, people, positions, practices, phrases, etc… The reality is God is worshiped among any and all who are surrendered to Him.

Every time, personal ambitions are put aside and we are surrendered to God’s working in and through our lives, God is worshiped.

Today, maybe you are feeling overwhelmed by the drudgery of your current affairs.  Perhaps, life feels bitterly cruel to you today because of current trials you are experiencing.  Perhaps, you are lonely or alone.  Perhaps, you are living in a home with an unsaved spouse or unsaved parents and siblings.  Perhaps, you are the only individual at your work who is saved or appears to be saved.

This is for you, my friend.  No matter where you are, with whom you are, how you are feeling today, you have something to offer to God.  You have yourself!

The gift God asks and wants more than anything else is You!  Yes, You! 

God doesn’t ask you to wait to come to Him or to wait to be used by Him until you are “all-beautified” or “perfected”.   God wants us to come as we are to Him.  God asks us to give ourselves to Him — just as we are. 

Dear friends, He will take the rubbish.  He will take the wounds.  He will take the sickness.  He will take the hurts.  He will take the past.  He will take us just as we are, and He will transform and redeem what we give to Him.

Yes, dear friends, this is grace!  Jesus just wants you.  It means though that you have to surrender to Him, offer yourself to Him, and stop trying to fix what you can’t fix.

It’s all about the holy act of surrender — that is the essence of worship.

Surrender to God, and allow yourself to be a gift of worship to Him, revealing the matchless grace and power of Jesus!

The glory is and always has been His all along.

He is the reason we live and breathe and hope!

Job 33:4

“The Spirit of God has made me, And the breath of the Almighty gives me life.”

Welcoming People Into Your Life — Even When It Is Messy

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I am going to be honest with you and admit that I am one of those people that thrives on order and organization.  It sounds “pretty” to say that I like keeping a clean and organized home.

The reality is more often that I like my home clean and organized because I like control.

I also am often too concerned about my image, and then my house becomes an idol to my image.

I have had the privilege all summer long to have lots of guests into my house.  When I know company is coming, I run around cleaning my house until it sparkles.  I want it to look as “perfect” as it can look with seven people living in it.

Sometimes in the process of cleaning, I forget that it’s more important about having a welcoming heart than an attractive home.

God always has a way of gently correcting my heart and attitudes and revealing their true condition.  There’s no pretense with Him.

One of my dear friends recently visited me, and I mentioned to her that I have had to come to accept that with five children, my life isn’t going to be the pretty little package, all under wraps, tied up with a pretty bow, like I would prefer.

She said so eloquently, something along the lines of, “Love is messy.”

Love requires us to get messy. 

To truly love others, we have to be willing to get messy ourselves.  We have to be wiling to be transparent and to welcome them into our own messy lives.  We have to be willing to accept people in all of their disheveled, messy state of brokenness.

God has been working on teaching me that life is messy, and grace is sometimes best seen in the messiness of life.

I love the following quotes from the book, Glimpses of Grace, by Gloria Furman:

…controlling my circumstances wouldn’t fill the void in my soul.  You can’t organize your way into communion with God.

I forget that homemaking is not primarily about my personality; it is primarily to adorn the Gospel…

For many of us homemakers, our greatest fear is in being found incompetent, insufficient, and ineffective.  We prefer to look like we’ve got it all together.  We give lip service to the idea that nobody’s perfect, but we would rather die trying to prove that we’re the exception to the rule.

God chooses to use the weak and broken to show himself to be strong and sufficient.

If you struggle with developing close relationships with others, perhaps you struggle with the same problem of making your image an idol.

When we live for our own “glory” or image, we are incapable of allowing people into the vulnerable and messy places of our lives.

I love this quote from Glimpses of Grace in regards to this:

Perhaps our relationships are terminally casual because we’re not willing to disclose what’s at the heart level.

  1. Maybe we’re unsure of how we are really doing.
  2. Maybe, we’re not willing to hear from others.
  3. Maybe, we’re afraid of the truth.
  4. Maybe, we’re insecure because we’ve been burned in the past.
  5. Maybe, we’re just ignorant to the beauty of self-disclosure shared for the sake of the Gospel.
  6. Maybe, we’d rather cling to our own assumptions of others.

What’s the solution to letting go of our false need for control and pride in holding onto false pretenses?

The solution is knowing the truth about who we are in Christ and knowing the truth of Who God is.

The Gospel isn’t just giving us a fresh slate to try to get things right again.  The Gospel means that Jesus not only met God’s justice on the cross and paid the penalty for our sins, but that He also exchanged our “rags” of sinfulness for Jesus’ righteousness.  This is our means of redemption and transformation!

Glimpses of Grace says this as well:

Jesus faced our sin and our enemy and determined to remain on the cross until our debt for every last sin was paid in full.  He nailed the record of condemnation against us to the cross in triumph!

The gospel inspires in us a willingness to cede control to God over the image we are trying to portray through our lives in the home.  Through Jesus, we can be most concerned with imaging God and being conformed to His image.  Because of the gospel, we can run away from any Magic Mirrorgate, rejoicing in who God is instead of devastated by who we are.

When we are unwilling to be honest and authentic with others, we must ask ourselves whether we have the proper view of God and of our position in Him.

Glimpses of Grace said, “Don’t be a victim of identity theft. .. everything God has for you is grace upon grace because of what Jesus has done for you.  …Your image is not really about you but about Him.”

One last quote, because I love the way God welcomes us into His heart and family — even in our disheveled, messy sinful state:

“Part of your image bearing and image conforming is experiencing the joy of making God your treasured possession, as He has made you His.” (From Glimpses of Grace)

Infinity

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I have been reading a very interesting book by Jonathan Cahn called The HarbingerOne of the last chapters have really stood out to me.  The rest of what I will share will be direct quotes from his book:

Without judgment there would be no hope? I asked.

Without judgement, there would be no end to evil in the universe … or in man’s heart.  There would be no heaven.

“Why would there be no heaven?

“He looked away from me and toward the light of the setting sun before speaking again.  Because heaven would then be filled with locks and prisons, hatred, violence, fear, and destruction.  Heaven would cease to be heaven … and would become hell instead.  But there is a heaven, and there is a time and place of no more sorrow … no more hate … no more weeping or tears … and no more pain.  There must be a judgment.  Evil must end… beyond which is heaven.

“So, in other words, if evil entered heaven, heaven would cease to be heaven because it would have evil in it…

“…You can never judge yourself by your own standards and your own righteousness, but only in light of His righteousness. Which do you think is greater, he asked, the moral distance that separates us from the most monstrous of Nazis or that which separates us from God?

“I guess that which separates us from God.

“That’s correct, because the first separation is finite.  But the second is infinite.  So what we see as the slightest of sins within ourselves appears, in the eyes of Him who is absolute goodness, even more abhorrently evil than the crimes of the Nazis appear to us.  In the light of the absolute Good, our lust becomes as adultery and our hatred as murder.

“…Who could make it into heaven? 

“No one could stand and no one could make it into heaven.  How far would just one sin take you away from the infinite righteousness of God?

An infinite distance?

“Yes.  So how far are we from heaven?

Infinitely great.

And how long would it take us to bridge the gap, to be reconciled to God, to enter heaven?

“An infinity of time.

Eternity, he said.

“…If you have an infinite gap and an infinite problem, what do you need?

“An infinite answer?

Which means that the answer could not come from yourself or from this world.  It could only come from the infinite, from heaven … from God, which means that any given answer, any given ideology, and any given system based on the efforts of man is ruled out.

“Which rules out most answers, I said.

Which rules out every answer, he replied, every answer based on man trying to reach God, a hand reaching upward to heaven.  The answer can only come the other way, from the infinite to the finite, from heaven to earth … from God to man.

“A hand reach down from heaven?

“Exactly.  And what alone could answer an infinite judgement?

“An infinite mercy?

Yes, the infinite mercy of an infinite love.  And what alone could fill an infinite absense?

“The infinite presence of the infinite love.

“…Because it’s not about religion; it’s about love.  That’s the meaning … the overcoming of the infinite judgment by the infinite love.

“The love of God.

The love of God.  For God is love, and the nature of love is what? 

To give? I replied.

“Yes, to give of itself, to put itself in the place of the other even if it means that by so doing it must sacrifice itself.  So if God is love, then what would the ultimate manifestation of love be?

“…The giving of Himself … God giving Himself to bear the judgment of those under judgment if, by so doing, it would save them. 

“…As in Jesus…

“The infinite sacrifice, said the prophet, to bear an infinite judgment, in which all sins are nullified and all who partake are set free… forgiven … saved.  An infinite redemption in which judgment and death are overcome and a new life given… a new beginning…a new birth.  The love of God is greater than judgment… Remember… there is no sin so deep that His love isn’t deeper … no life so hopeless … no soul so far away … and no darkness so dark that His love isn’t greater still.

“…How far away from eternity do you think you are?

“One heartbeat, he replied, one heartbeat … You’re only one heartbeat away from eternity.”

Why You Don’t Have To Be Perfect To Raise Godly Children

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Have you ever blamed yourself for the wrong choices of your children?

Have you ever felt discouraged because you sinned in your parenting (by an angry word or expression or tone of voice) and feared that your kids might forever be scarred or have issues as a result?

Have you ever thought that you had to try harder, be better … in other words be more perfect?

Have you placed an unattainable standard before yourself in your parenting: that your kids won’t turn out “perfectly” or godly if you aren’t perfect in how you raise them?

Have you ever questioned how your kids are going to turn out to live productive and more importantly, godly lives if you are not the flawless example to them?

Have you ever felt and acted as if God’s love and in turn your love to your children is dependent upon the measure to which obedience or dare I say “perfection” is achieved?

Most of us know that God’s love is not dependent upon our obedience.  Yet, we live that way.  We walk in fear or timidity, enacting man-made laws and rituals and tradition to placate our images and ideas of what we believe God expects from us.  The reason?  Not because we always want to obey but sometimes more because we feel and live as if His love is dependent upon us — our behaviors, the measure of our “godliness.”

Why do we think and feel and live this way sometimes?  Has God ever chosen only “perfect” people to accomplish His work, ways, and will?  The Bible gives multiple examples of God choosing people that did sin and sin big time.   Some of these people are in the very line from which Christ’s earthly lineage can be traced: Tamara, Judah, Bathsheba, David, Solomon, Rahab, etc…

The Bible also gives clear guidelines and commands that define what is sin and what it isn’t.  He also clearly judges those who sin.  So what does it all mean?

Do we ignore God’s justice, or do we ignore His love?  Are they mutually agreeable and cohesive with each other?   Can both His love and His justice be singularly achieved?

God calls David a “man after His own heart.”  Yet, David was an adulterer, proud at times, irresponsible in his parenting, a murderer, etc…  As a result, the Bible does speak of judgment.  David’s house was divided in so many ways — brother against brother.  The entire nation of Israel even suffered judgment when David chose to number the armies of Israel.  David’s newborn son, the child born as a result of his adulterous affair with Bathsheba, died.  At one point, David’s son Absalom tried to wrest the kingdom from his father and David had to flee for his life.   So why did God call this man “a man after His own heart”?  Scripture also makes it clear that David had a tender and repentant heart.  He grieved over his sin and truly repented.  David submitted to authority (as in example of King Saul) and never rebelliously questioned God’s punishment.  David also had a heart of worship.  The Book of Psalms speaks time and time again of how in the midst of every circumstance, David had learned to yet praise God.

Each person that God chose to use in the genealogy of Christ’s earthly lineage (lineages of Mary and Joseph) were sinners but sinners who at some point repented and experienced redemption as a result.  The key here is their repentance and the changes in their lives that occurred.

God doesn’t choose perfect people to accomplish His will.  He uses forgiven people — people who have been forgiven because they repented.

The truth is we all sinThat isn’t an excuse to continue in our sins.  What it should be is an admission that we are sinners — you and I.  Knowing we have sinned much and have been forgiven much should result in a spirit of thankfulness and worship of One Who is Holy and Righteous Altogether! 

God doesn’t ask us to be perfect.  He asks us to be repentant and useable as a result of our submission. 

God’s grace is perhaps best shown when it is extended to the sinner — not the “perfect.”  His grace is best shown in the chaos and messiness of life.  God’s grace is all about a Savior who offers redemption to an undeserving but repentant sinner.  God’s grace is all about His perfection being extended to imperfect people. 

As mothers, this means that His grace is best demonstrated when imperfect mothers accept His forgiveness and receive His redemption in order to live lives that are forgiven and transformed through Him!  This means that the greatest work of parenting we do is not our own feeble attempts at living a “good” life but is when we learn to walk in His grace and the freedom that comes as a result.

When we sin, God’s love is not affected.  What is affected is our relationship with Him.  When we sin, we put “distance” between our hearts and God’s.

As mothers/parents, the best thing we can do for our children is to teach them what God’s grace means and to live it out before them: that Grace is God extending His forgiveness to us and offering us redemption when we accept it.  It’s learning to walk in His Grace, meaning we walk obediently, humbly, and joyfully before Him. It’s understanding that it’s not about us; it’s all about Him — His work and ways!  It’s understanding that not only was Grace a past work: the work on the cross (salvation), but it is also a present work: the daily renewing and transforming of our lives through His power!

It means, we have been forgiven much so we can forgive much!