Losing the Power

A long-time companion is missing, the one I can only describe as an invisible faucet permanently attached over my head, endlessly releasing one slow drop after another until its sound overpowers every other. Now I only hear it from afar, and its sound is fading, at that. How did I lose it? Maybe if I retrace my steps, I’ll understand how it happened.

Talk about losing! I lost my temper – again – letting pour from my mouth whatever angry and demeaning words popped into my mind in the heat of the moment. This wasn’t new “shouldn’t do” behavior, the flip side to all those good “should do” things I failed to do. In short, I failed miserably – again – to live the upstanding Christian life. Every other time this happened, once the moment of angry release or the time to act passed, I felt defeated, lower than dirt, and those dripping voices in my head made sure to keep me there. Not this time.

I was still definitely wrong, and definitely didn’t look or sound like Christ. Yet, that leaky faucet was unhooked from my brain, not just turned off, and the guilt and condemnation for my failures was gone with it. This is what the Bible says happens, but I thought it was only for the future, probably not until heaven.

candle flameNow I remember. The last time I read the Bible, the words seemed to jump off the page and into my heart with an intensity, a vitality, I’ve never known. I came away from those moments having been recharged somehow, filled with a new sense of freedom and peace such as I’d never known.

Romans 8:1-2 NIV Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.

This has to be it! Even though I messed up again, condemnation and guilt couldn’t have their way with me. Those old companions were making an annoying noise somewhere in the distance, trying desperately to attach themselves to me as they had for so long. But the life in those verses, real Life in Christ, convinced me of my present tense freedom that is not based on my perfect living. I am free from guilt now because in His perfection, Jesus Christ suffered my judgment in the past, forgiving me for my every sin past, present, and future.

That’s what’s different! The power of guilt and condemnation over my life has been lost forever. In actuality, they haven’t belonged to me for more than forty years. That’s when I received the perfect Savior, Jesus Christ, into my life. I just didn’t know, didn’t understand – then. Ignorant no more, I now live in the freedom Christ died to give me!

How much more gain can be found in losing?

Second and third in this series can be found in Finding Freedom Now and Lost and Found.

I Still Need Jesus

NYC 2014 088Teetering on the edge of falling full-force into the pit of condemnation, I poured my heart’s contents onto the pages of my journal that morning. I had failed . . . again. I thought I learned the lesson last time, expecting myself to handle things differently going forward. But it was the same as before. I was the same as before.

I had made natural adjustments since the last time, ones that should have made the difference. But they didn’t go to the heart of the matter. My bad attitude was still there. Realizing I had focused on the natural to be the difference maker only pushed me farther into the darkness enveloping me.

In the middle of the next guilt-ridden sentence, Holy Spirit broke in. It was like a gentle, but forceful, shaking – one meant to return my attention fully to Him. Without speaking the words, or anything that could be so construed by many, He conveyed His unconditional love for me.

That’s what I sensed so overwhelmingly as I was given a glimpse of the situation as He saw it. I still need Jesus! Hallelujah! I still need Jesus! I haven’t graduated beyond Him. Even though I acted in my own strength . . . again . . . He still wants to remind me of His grace and mercy for me.

Only Jesus Christ can make the permanent and necessary changes in me – ever. Somehow, I subconsciously thought I had learned from my past mistakes and could take it from here. I failed. Again. Miserably. Always will on my own. Only in Christ is any good found in me. How freeing!

What absolutely unconditional love enveloped me again where the darkness had pressed only moments before! Indeed, I still need Jesus – every moment and every day!

Merry Christmas to all who, like me, still need Jesus!

Overwhelmed

I’ve listened to this song by BJ Putnam many times, but today I actually heard the words.  All I can say is “Wow!”  Even though the lyrics are included on the video, I wanted to put them here for you to see before, during, and after listening.  May you see more of Jesus, my friends.

Beautiful Love

My past was silenced at Your command
When my broken heart was healed in the palm of Your hand.
You swallowed death, overwhelmed me with life
You made Your blood and my pain collide
 
Beautiful love, You are my King
You are the One, my everything
Now I run to You ‘cause You are all I need
Beautiful love
 
You stretched out Your arms and You broke my fall
On that day when Your love took my place on the cross
And You swallowed death, overwhelmed me with life
Jesus, You made Your blood and my pain collide
 
Beautiful love, You are my King
You are the One, my everything
Now I run to You ‘cause You are all I need
 
You’re everything.  You’re all I need.
The One Who carried the cross carries me.
You’re everything.  You’re all I need.
The One Who carried the cross carries me.
 
Beautiful love, You are my King
Now I run to You, ‘cause You are all I need
Beautiful love.
 
https://youtu.be/auGXm7rSwsk
 
 
 

It’s Really Okay

My mother, Edella Walker, at age 16.

I do not hate my mother.  I loved her and she loved me.  I just want to make that clear before you read any more of this post.  Furthermore, even though this relates to the relationship with my mother, that’s really only the surface issue, as you will see.  It’s the heart of the matter, wrong thoughts I’ve believed for so long, that’s important.  And it’s what the Lord spoke to the heart of my matter that I believe will minister to you, as well.

On March 18, 1987, my mother died of cancer.  I was only 31 at the time, with two young children – too young to be motherless.  Nevertheless, it is the fact.  I mourned for a few months, until the weekend I visited my father where we experienced my mother’s last days together.  Though we had a close relationship beforehand, there was a special connection forged by living those last days together.  Our conversation naturally centered on what we had gone through and all the details.  We didn’t have to explain anything to each other, nor did we have to withhold anything because of discomfort from someone who hadn’t been right there.  The conversations of that weekend completed my grief process, even my mourning.  In the ensuing years, there have been a few moments I considered what it might have been like with Mom around, but not with tears or sadness.

Though I still remember the events clearly, especially as the anniversary of her death approaches, those memories come with no emotions – good or bad.  I simply remember.  Twenty-five years after-the-fact, I wanted to record in my journal, though I really had nothing in my heart to write.  But God.  It turns out He was the One stirring me to write, because He had a bigger purpose for me than simply remembering an event.  Daddy wanted to apply more of His love to an area in my life I didn’t even know was there, so I could walk in greater measure of His freedom in Christ.  May the Lord also minister to you through what follows.

It’s 25 years today since Mom died.  There is no sadness in that statement, and hasn’t been for so many years.  Yet, I have felt condemned because of my lack of sadness.  After 25 years, though, I feel relieved. Like I’ve crossed some imaginary boundary between unacceptable and acceptable.  As if I am free to admit my lack of emotions to others without them thinking less of me, now that it’s been a quarter of a century.      

Condemnation is not from You, Lord, so help me break free completely.  I see.  Who have I been trying to hide my feelings from?  Who are these people who would think less of me?  It’s this invisible “they” the enemy has used to keep me caught up in this condemnation and guilt trap.  It’s kept me from being honest with myself . . . and You, and not letting You help me through.  And now I hear in my spirit, “It’s really okay.”  My Lord is saying it’s okay that I am not sad about Mom, or that I really don’t even miss her, and haven’t for a long time.  It’s really okay.

And with that, I walk free from something that has bound me for 25 years.  The scales have come off my eyes, and I now live in freedom where I’ve known only condemnation.  In those simple words, my Father has broken through with the assurance of His love.  There is no condemnation for not having emotions that match what the world considers normal.  Nor would there be if I were still emotional so long after Mom’s leaving.  He loves me.  I am His child, and I have life – and freedom – in Christ Jesus.  It’s that simple.  And it’s that freeing.  It’s really okay!

Romans 8:1-2 NIV  Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,  2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.