To Love or To Hate

Radio Show Host: That person is walking in outright disgusting sin.

Radio Show Guest: Is it okay for me to hate him?

Radio Show Host: I would say, yes. It cannot be tolerated. In fact, I would like the audience to join me in mailing this person a letter telling him that he is going to hell. I am going to do that as soon as I get off the air.

Wow!

These words, though somewhat paraphrased because real names are not used, blew my mind! I was randomly going through radio stations and came across this Christian station. I was surprised. I have heard of individuals who have acted this way, but never really understood how this concept can exist in the Christian realm.

Don’t get me wrong, I have had my share of this attitude staring me down. I have had people from church hang up on me, speak evil about me, turn me away, gossip, accuse me and criticize those whose lives are dedicated to the Lord.

But I took it all in stride, knowing that I was only accountable for my heart, that these individuals did not represent all believers and that we are all subject to fall. And so, I walked away from those with this attitude. That is not to say that I didn’t get hurt at times.

BUT –

It has also been church going Christians who have encouraged me and prayed for me and with me. Those I choose to rub shoulders with are those that have experienced their own difficult times yet have risen up as warriors and overcomers, filled with COMPASSION for the lost. They are those that believe in the power of the Holy Spirit, the power of prayer and the power of God’s undying LOVE.

LOVE is the key. God is love.

It is because of HIS love for each of us that Jesus came to earth to die so that we can escape sin and death. I have heard testimonies from individuals who have had near death experiences. They desperately try to explain how MUCH the Lord really LOVEs each of us.

It is his kindness that leads to repentance. (Romans 2:4) Condemnation will never lead to repentance. People who feel condemned always put up walls. I know, Ive been there. Love doesn’t condemn, that is the enemy of our souls who uses that measure.

BUT –

Love doesn’t compromise with sin either. That is also the enemy’s tool. All the talk about tolerance is dangerous because at times it means to tolerate sin. Compromise is an open door to confusion.

So, if we aren’t to walk in hateful anger towards those who flaunt sin as the opening statements suggested, and we are not to tolerate sin in our lives, nor compromise with it, something Jesus never did, what are we supposed to do?

How are we to love those that mock our Lord, those that make it their business to attack our values, or those that walk with arrogance or self-righteousness?

My personal answer: We fall in love with the one who IS love. IF we are consumed with HIM, HIS love flows out of us for others.

How can we accomplish this? It is by building a relationship with God. The way we build relationships is by spending time with those we say we love. In the case of our Lord it is through prayer or talking with him and reading his love letters (the Bible) and by being around those who have the same desire.

The Lord gives us the ability.

“We love because he first loved us.” 1 John 4:19

Consider Steven who was the first martyr for Christ. He was so deeply in love with his Lord that he didn’t compromise his stand for Christ; he also didn’t retaliate in vengeance.

And as the murderous stones came hurtling at him, Stephen prayed, ‘Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.’ And he fell to his knees, shouting, ‘Lord, don’t charge them with this sin!’ and with that, he died.” Acts 7:59-60 (TLB)

I want to learn to love others with the Lord’s pure love. Am I willing to die for those who hurl insults or attack my way of life or verbally abuse those I love? Jesus loved so much he died for us WHILE we were sinners.

That kind of love does not attack others, BUT it also doesn’t compromise in sin nor agree with those that do. The more we fall in love with the Lord, the more we desire to become like him. Ultimate love would be to say like Steven, “Do not charge them with this sin.” It is also standing strong, as he did, WITHOUT compromising. Instead, we should desire to help those in bondage to become free.

“that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.” 2 Timothy 2:26

Father in Heaven, I ask that you baptize your people with your love so that we walk in its purity, not condemning those who are confused or lost, but instead, by your grace, mercy and wisdom, directing them to the way of freedom and truth. Amen

For God SO LOVED the world…

God Bless.

The Masterpiece

I enjoy painting during any free time I might have. I don’t necessarily consider myself an artist though. I paint just to relax and my paintings stay in the privacy of my bedroom. My niece once introduced me as her aunt, the artist. That seemed odd to me as she and her siblings are extremely talented artists, you know, those people who actually sell their artwork! I laughed and explained that I wasn’t really an artist. She asked if I enjoyed painting? I told her I did. Then she said, “If you enjoy painting and are expressing yourself through an artistic medium — you are an artist.” That stayed with me. I guess it is like my enjoyment of writing. I may not always be a paid author, but I enjoy writing.

Last night was one of those nights that I had an urge to paint. But unfortunately I didn’t have a new canvas on hand. So I looked at my wall and took down one of the paintings that I considered less desirable. I had tried to paint something on it before and didn’t like it so painted something else over it which was not much of an improvement. This time I thought I would simply paint it white so I could start with a fresh background. After I was done I hung it back up on the wall to dry. As I viewed it hanging on the wall I noticed some of the dark color bleeding through and the different textures that were visible from previous acrylic paint. Then the word, “whitewashed” came to my mind. Didn’t the Bible mention something about being whitewashed?

Matthew 23:27-28 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.” (NIV)

I could visibly see the mistakes that were under the coat of thin white paint. It made me think how we sometimes try to cover our sins by acting righteous, but the Lord sees through the coat of paint where we try to hide our sins . He sees into our hearts. Yet since he is so full of love and grace, he desires to completely blot out our transgressions. We just need to ask.

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“Come now lets discuss this.” say the Lord. “Though your sins are bright red, they will become as white as snow. Though they are dark red, they will become as white as wool.” Isaiah 1:18 (GWT)

I sometimes struggle with the concept of truly being forgiven of past mistakes in my life, as I am sure so many people do at times. But what about….? Can God truly forgive? I want to be pure, but past sins sometimes knock at the door of my mind and haunt my soul like green mold on cheese. You think the entire chunk of cheese is no longer good to eat because of mold. But once you cut off the moldy part of the cheese – the rest is fine. If God has taken away that darkness from my life, why couldn’t I trust him with the rest of my life?

Once when I was struggling with this concept and was calling out to the Lord he revealed his truth to me while in prayer. I saw him standing in front of me as I was trying to explain to him the reason why I wasn’t able to be used and each time I would try to explain, he would put his finger to my lips to stop me from speaking about my faults. I’d try again and again he’d put his finger on my lips and whispered “Shhh”. He ignored my whining because he already was in my future and knew my past. He knows the plans he has for me, plans to prosper me and not to harm me, plans to give me a hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11)

The blood he shed doesn’t just cover our sins so they are not seen anymore, it literally erases our sins. He throws them into the sea.( Micah 7:19) I don’t understand how that is possible. I don’t understand his grace. I don’t understand his forgiveness. I don’t understand why he loves us so much. But HE DOES!

We become as clean as a new canvas that has never been painted as soon as we ask him into our lives. (2 Corinthians 5:17) He can then paint a beautiful picture about our lives. He can use the darkness of our past, the brokenness of our hearts, the foolish of our choices, the hopelessness of our souls and mix it with his blood and by his Spirit a masterpiece is created. How? Because he is the master of our lives and we are his artwork.

His masterpiece is YOU!

His masterpiece is ME!

How awesome are his masterpieces. We have been created by the hand of the Lord.

Grace in time of need

What if you had no control? What if darkness swirled so thick around you that it felt like you could not see your hand in front of your face? What if the silence in your head was so loud that you could hear your own heart beat and wondered what was in your future?

Have you felt that way before? Lost– bewildered–alone? Or worse, witness the horror of suffering or smell the sting of death?

When I first think of a time of great suffering my mind races to World War II and the horror stories that have been shared by the Holocaust victims and I shudder. But I know that suffering has taken place in different parts of the world and different times in our history over and over. Even today people are going through horrific experiences. Just listen to the news.

I simply do not understand pure hatred and violence on a level where humans care so little about another human life. But then I do not understand the evil that the enemy of our souls possess, nor of his bitter rage to destroy anything that represents joy, life or peace.

On the other hand I also don’t pretend to understand nor comprehend the love that our Lord has for us, so much so that he sent his son into this sinful world to defeat sin and death. He could have easily destroyed the world in a combustion of fire.

The Word states that before Jesus took on all the sins of the world he was beaten so brutally that he was unrecognizable. You see crucifix emblems that portray a sweet man wearing a crown of thorns on his head while being nailed to the cross. That is bad enough, but I dare say that the real visual was FAR worse!

He didn’t even look human.

Isaiah 52:14 -“But many were amazed when they saw him. (Jesus.). His face was so disfigured he seemed hardly human, and from his appearance, one would scarcely know he was a man.” (NLT)

On top of the physical degradation; every piece of hatred already spewed out and the hatred that had not even existed in the eyes of those born, he paid for; as well as sickness, lies and sin and even death. All those things were unseen in this dimension. But if we could have seen beyond the physical world into the spiritual realm it would have been a more horrific sight as he carried them into hell.

Isaiah 53:3-6 “He was despised and rejected a man of sorrows, acquainted  with deepest grief. We turned our back on him and looked the other way. He was despised and we did not care. Yet it was OUR weakness he carried; it was OUR sorrow that weighed him down. And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God, a punishment for his own sins! But he was pierced for OUR rebellion and cursed for OUR sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed. We have left God’s path to follow our own. Yet the Lord laid on him the sins of us ALL.” (TLT)

Powerful. The suffering that he endured so we might have an abundant life is a gift of sacrificial love beyond what we can imagine. Yet we quarrel about having to give up sinful lifestyles and think that perhaps he might wink at our sins. Listen! He suffered unimaginable pain and sorrow to set us FREE from the very things we don’t want to give up and lifestyles we have pushed as acceptable.

Or look at the sorrows we see around us; death, brokenness despair. We live in this sinful world where innocent lives are destroyed unmercifully. It’s a world where the thirst for revenge or the thirst for power supersedes all else. The evil filth is sometimes too much to ignore and can weigh us down. Hebrews 12 encourages us to NOT give up.

“We must focus on Jesus the source and goal of our faith. He saw the joy ahead of him so he endured the death on the cross and ignored the disgrace it brought him. Then he received the highest position in heaven, the one next to the throne of God. Think about Jesus, who endured opposition from sinners, so that you don’t become tired and give up.”
Hebrews 12:2-4 (GWT)

Remember what John 10:10 says. It is one of my favorite verses: “The thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy; but I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”

Often in this world you will face heartaches, some that may seem unbearable. But nothing catches God off guard or is hidden from his view. He knows the beginning of your life until the end. He knows the beginning of this world until its end. He would not have allowed his son to die such a wicked death for nothing. He came to give us abundant life, in this life and into eternity.

Sometimes our circumstances do not seem to dictate abundance. But an abundant life is one that is surrendered to the Lord. It is like Paul who said, “God’s grace is sufficient”. He knew. He suffered for him yet tasted God’s goodness. When the darkness of evil creeps across the land and you cannot seem to see your hand in front of your face– you can still know that the Lord will pick you up and his grace will fill your soul. That is what he does as a loving Father.

Hebrews 4:16
“Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find GRACE TO HELP US IN OUR TIME OF NEED.” (NIV)

Do you need God’s grace and mercy today? Your Father is willing to pour it into your lives. Ask. He is a great God despite the darkness, because HE is the light that destroys it! AMEN!

God bless.

 

To those that are broken

Twisted – broken,
Out of control.
Spiraling- falling
Deep in a hole.

Confused – Bewildered
Not sure what to do.
Lost – Alone
Can all this be true?

The life I shared
Is now in the ground.
The joy that we had
Has turned upside down.

I cried to the Lord
In my despair.
Did you not know?
Do you not care?

I cried to the Lord
Did you not see?
There was nowhere to run
To hide or to flee.

Why all the hurt?
Why all the fears?
Why all the sadness?
And constant new tears?

I heard him reply:

Dear Child
What you say is true
I know of your anguish
It hurts through and through.

I know there is hurt.
I know there is fear.
I want to hold you close
I won’t abandon you; I’m still here.

This world is broken
Chaotic and lost.
I know the pain.
I know what it cost.

It cost the life
Of my son on the cross
To break all the sin
To heal all the loss.

It wasn’t me
That took the life
It was evil consumed
With hate and with strife

When this world’s sins
Meets its final hour,
The demons that kill
Will flee and will cower.

Until that time comes
My arms will remain open
Its a safe place to heal
A heart that is broken.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16

 

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Laughter of the Lord

You read about God’s judgements. You read about his glory. You know that he is all-powerful, but does he laugh?

We’ve had so much conflict in our great land. Racism has been fed by angry souls and taken an embodiment of hostility. The earth itself seems angry as it is spurring raging storms and floods in our nation. Laugher –that is accompanied with joy –seems foreign.

The writer of Psalm 37 explains that we are not to worry or fret about evil people but to trust God. (Good advise during the times we are experiencing right now–a must read). He continues to explain that as we commit everything to the Lord he will help us. He encourages his readers to let go of anger and trust God. The Psalmist sees that madness (wicked people with evil schemes) is surrounding him, but he is reminded that God will take care of those that put their hope and trust in Him.

Despite what we he sees with his eyes the writer continues in verse 13: “But the Lord just laughs for he sees their day of judgement coming”. (NLT) In other words those that are fighting the Lord, those that are putting up their fists in anger and trying to destroy his goodness do not phase him. It would be like a toddler arguing with his parent. His parent looks at him smiling as he knows that no matter what the child does or says, he is ultimately in control of the situation.

Psalm 2:4 is another example, “But the one who rules in heaven laughs. The Lord scoffs at them.” ((NLT) Again people think that they have the power to destroy his plans and destroy those he has anointed but God is ultimately in control.  David explains in Psalm 59, that Saul and his men are trying to attack and destroy him. But he trusts in his Lord and knows that the Lord laughs at those who think they’re stronger and more mighty than his plans. That is why David is able to trust in his God.

It’s like being in 1st grade and another 1st grader comes over to bully you. Suddenly your Dad walks up behind you and shakes his head and laughs. He knows he can protect you. The bully sees your father and quickly shrinks away. We have a God that is our refuge and strength. He delights in his people. He delights in us individually. And we actually bring him joy because we are his children.

Zephaniah 3:17 states, “For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fear. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.” (NLT)

God desires to give us that same laugher in the midst of our trials. When Job was going through so much excruciating struggles his friends actually said something positive to him.  They told him that God would fill his mouth with laughter once again and his lips with shouts of joy.  When Sara was told that she would have a child in her old age, she laughed in unbelief but God fulfilled her desire and she named her child Isaac, which means laugher.

There is power in joy. That is why James states to count it all joy when trouble of any kind comes your way; because when your faith is tested, it will give you an opportunity to grow.  (James 1:1)

In the days of Nehemiah the people of the land wept as they heard the law of Moses being read. But Nehemiah encouraged them and said, “This is a sacred day before our Lord. Don’t be dejected and sad, for the JOY of the Lord is your strength!” -Nehemiah 8:10 (NLT)

So the question is, does God laugh? I believe he does. He is consumed with joy and expresses it with laughter. On a personal note:  When I was younger I remember calling out to the Lord to meet my needs and wondered if he cared. Deep inside the very depths of my being I heard a deep and jolly chuckle. Then I heard the words, “I will always take care of you!” I hold on to those word still in this hour knowing HE WILL take care of each of us.

He is a God of judgement, a God of strength and power and yet a God of joy and laughter.  Amen.

“Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again — rejoice!” Philippians 4:4

 

 

The Identity Epidemic – Who am I?

These days you hear a lot about people’s right and about women’s rights in particular.

I haven’t been all around the world, but because our world seems to be shrinking due to technology I have heard about different lifestyles in the world. I was curious about the subject of women’s rights so I did what we do today and began to google information.  I live in a country of freedom for women so the discoveries I found disturbed me. I was disgusted by the torment that women and girls face around the world and I am sure even in my own city (though it isn’t legal here, it does not mean that it is not happening.) It made me sick to my stomach and was hard to digest. The horrific torture and living conditions boggled my mind.

We, as followers of Christ, choose to believe that both genders are of value to the Lord and equal, though definitely wired differently.  The way the different genders respond to situations, as in “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus” by John Gray have been studied for years. Very different genders and yet both created in the image of the Lord.

What happened since creation that would make men in some cultures, even in the Old Testament Biblical times believe that they were somehow superior to women?  Why have women often been treated as second class citizens throughout the world?

God created Adam first and then created Eve as his companion, but they were both created in God’s image. Each had a part in their relationship that brought unity. But because of sin both were turned away from the Garden of Eden so that they wouldn’t eat of the tree of life and live forever in their sins.

The Lord told Adam that he would now have to till the ground (or work hard) for his food instead of the luxuries that the garden provided. And he told Eve that giving birth would be painful but that she would still desire her husband (some versions state that she would desire to control him) and YET  he would have rule over her.

“He said to the woman, “I will increase your pain and your labor when you give birth to children. Yet, you will long for your husband, and he will rule over you.” Genesis 3:16 (GWT)

How interesting. This confusion (striving to find our place in the family setting or as an individual) happened from the beginning.  So it has been a struggle since the beginning of time…women desiring a man to love them, a man desiring to be in control, and the woman desperately fighting for that control, as well.

I often wonder what life was like in the garden before “the fall” took place. Did they get along famously? Was God part of their daily relationship? There wasn’t any arguing over bills, over household chores, over child rearing. It was a place of peace and unity.

Then, BOOM, one day they found themselves in a selfish world where individuals had lost the intimate relationship with the Creator. They eventually lost the ability to recognize their place in a “family” sphere.

You can understand the confusion that was created in our world, in different societies and in different households because both men and women had lost their sense of identity, their relationship with their creator and with each other. You can understand why some societies began to think that men were more dominant and why woman– to this day –are struggling to become free to be who they initially were intended to be.

You can understand why women have fought so vehemently for their voices to be heard, for their lives to be of value in a society that no longer valued them.  All they desired was to fill that place of emptiness that the curse brought into their lives. You can understand why feminism vibrated in our country and why women have cried from deep inside their most inward parts to become the person God intended them to be, though they may not have a clue that is what they are doing.

Both genders have gone on a power hunger adventure, searching for acceptance, to fill a gap, to complete the void that was created through the curse at the Garden of Eden.

Now we have a world where both men and women scream for authority, for power, for acceptance. Both genders are fighting for their place in this world–striving to be heard they become louder, more forceful and more empty.

People have lost their identity, the identity that was theirs since the earth began when the Lord created both male and female in his image. Things have become so many more shades of gray as individuals try to forge through the confusion by themselves for an identity that was lost many eons ago. Fighting to find acceptance they have tried many avenues of identity that have led to an identity crisis. People don’t even know what gender they are and struggle by changing their appearance or try to find it by uniting with those of the same-sex or by searching for it through several different sexual experiences or are simply lost in the confusion.

But God desires that each person find freedom to be the person they were originally created to be. That is why God sent his son, Jesus, to die for our sins. He missed the relationship he originally had with his creation. He desires to walk with us once more. He wants us to understand that through HIM we can find our true identity. Through a personal relationship with Jesus we can have the peace (piece) of identity we crave; we can return to that intimate relationship with him and in turn share it with others.

The Lord has always honored women though men have not been as kind. Throughout the New Testament you hear stories of women that followed Jesus’ teachings. They followed him to the cross and were there when he had risen. And today many women still preach the gospel of hope to other women who may still be stuck in an identity crisis.

Lisa Bevere, a Christian author and speaker, shared how the catacombs in Rome were being excavated and mosaics of women preachers were being revealed. She explained how she felt the Holy Spirit speaking to her regarding those mosaic women and that they represented the women of today, This is what she said:

“You begin to tell the women that God is excavating their life; that he is chasing away the rubble. And when you lift up your eyes you’re going to see this beautiful mosaic out of all the broken pieces of your life. And you’re going to find out that you’ve been preaching with your life all along. You are one of those women.”

I want to encourage you in this hour, in the hour when people are searching for who they are, in the hour when there is the biggest identity crisis in our country– hear this: God created you. He created you in HIS image.

The word is clear. If you REALLY want to find yourself, you must first it give up (the way you thought it should be) and give it to Jesus. Then and only then will you really find yourself, because you will be found in Christ.

“If you cling to your life you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it. Matthew 10:39 (NLT)

 

Waves of Regret

I was off the grid for a couple of days. It was different not being able to communicate with others, but it was also relaxing. I was on a vacation at the ocean with some fun and delightful people I call family. It was quite coincidental that before I boarded the plane for my trip I was handed a book, a novella to be exact, called “Seaside”, written by Terri Blackstock.

The story is about an older woman who desires to take a short vacation on the ocean shores with her two grown daughters. She had found peace in her latter years and wanted to share that same peace with her daughters hoping that relationships could be healed. Part of the story plot mentions past regrets.

That word struck me. I had recently listened to a popular comedian tell her life story with that “R” word riddled throughout her testimony of life. I suppose as we get older we might have the opportunity to look back at our lives and possibly fill our life stories with many, “what ifs” or”if onlys”, if we allow ourselves to go down that path. I don’t think that those thoughts and words do anything positive for the soul.

I was talking to someone about these expressions; “if only” and “what if” and realized that perhaps God already knows our future, and just perhaps he already knows what choices we will make. (I say that in jest, as I understand it to be true.) So if that is the truth then there isn’t any room for an alternate dimension of ourselves making other decisions with different outcomes like we may see in the movies or read about in books. Instead there is a God that takes the choices we will or have made, right or  wrong, and uses them for our good.

 “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” Romans 8:28 (NLT)

That is the crazy yet miraculous thing about walking with the Lord.  Though we may have made “wrong” choices they may be the very choices that can actually be our spring-board into success, if we allow it. Don’t get me wrong. I am not saying to go ahead and be stupid. I am saying when you make a mistake or go off the right path for you, God stands there ready to use that mistake as your stepping stone of strength to go from glory to glory. It might not necessarily be a wrong choice but a choice that leads you down a different path with unexpected consequences.

You hear these testimonies quit often. The rehabilitated drug addict turns around and is reaching out to other drug addicts to save them from destruction. The thief goes to prison and hears the gospel of hope then decides to share that hope with those imprisoned with him. The baby who was lost on the streets of a war torn country is adopted by loving parents who give her a good education. That education is later used when the individual finds her lost family and chooses to use the education she received to help those less fortunate from her homeland.

Let’s take a look at young Joseph who was thrown into a well by his brothers and then sold into slavery. Later in his life he is thrown into prison and forgotten for years. But eventually he is used by God to save a nation from famine, including his relatives that previously sold him. It was if he was predestined to be a slave and a prisoner in the land of Egypt .

OR-

Perhaps God knew what Joseph’s brothers were already going to do and so used their evil plan to save them from starvation. It was if God took what was meant for evil and used it for good.

Joseph states,
“Even though you planned evil against me, God planned good to come out of it. This was to keep many people alive, as he is doing now.” Genesis 50:20 (GWT)

Possibly it is a choice of sin. Think about King David. There was a time that he desired Bathsheba and had her brought to his chamber. When he finds out that she is pregnant he summons her husband to come back from battle in hopes that he will stay with his wife. But when her husband decides not to sleep with his wife David realizes what he did and decides to have her husband transferred to the front of the battle where he is killed. All these wrong decisions create chaos as he tries to cover up his sin. But God is not blind to these things and David weeps with sorrow over his choices.

He then marries Bathsheba but the child that is born from their relationship dies of an illness. Later Bathsheba gives birth to another son and names him Solomon. From this  bloodline comes the birth of Jesus, the Christ, the savior of the world. If you think about it, it is almost as if God predestined King David and Bathsheba to unite.

OR-

Perhaps God used all the wrong choices that he knew David would make for David’s good and for our good. Despite his choices David still loves God which causes him to repent in anguish. God sees his heart and still has a great purpose for him.

There is a God that takes the very choices that we make, and uses them for our good because he promises that all things will work together for good to those that love him and are called according to his purpose. He is capable of taking what was meant for evil and turning it around for our good.

Why? Because he already knows the choices we will make and even though we are sinners and often make bad decisions he uses those decisions and polishes them with his blood and then hands them back to us better than they were before.

So back to you and me. Do we make some wrong choices? Most likely. But should we live in regret? Not at all. Of course we should not live in sin, but if we do sin we should repent to restore our relationship with our Lord. But maybe the choice wasn’t sinful but just not the best option. Still there should be no regrets. Regret is for those who have no hope. We have hope. We have hope that the God of creation, the God of salvation, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob will turn all things around for good in our lives because we are called for his purpose and because we love our Lord.

On a personal note I remember a time when it seemed I made one wrong choice after another. I thought about the parable of the sower found in Matthew 13. The seeds planted on good soil reaped a crop up to 100 times what was sown. I called out honestly to the Lord saying, “I have made a crap load of wrong choices how can I reap a harvest?” Then I heard him speak tenderly deep inside my spirit. “But what do farmers use to plant a good crop?” I realized they use manure (aka: crap). It would be those very choices that the seeds of my faith would fall into. The crop springing from those decisions are returning to me as blessings because I surrendered them to the Lord, instead of fretting over them.

Trust him. He seriously loves you and me more than we understand. And he can turn any wrong choice into a blessing as long as you let him, even things that were NOT YOUR choice but were dealt unjustly to you by someone else. Hand them to the Lord and he will give them back as a blessing. He still is a miracle worker. He is amazing!

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 (N(V)