if I have not love…

A quote from Joyce Meyer (taken from her podcast, “Obey and Be Blessed, Part 2”):

“A lot of people have a gift that will take them somewhere but not enough character to keep them there.”

She talked about how she used to watch TV preachers and think to herself, ‘I could preach circles around them’.  Though she was/is gifted as a speaker, God could not place her in the position that she is in now until He had worked that self-pride out of her.  If He placed her as an international speaker straight away, her pride would have just inflated and she would have thought that it was all her own talent and skills.  So God needed to work in humility in order for her to fulfil her God-given destiny.

This hits close to home.  I thought I had the job in the bag.  No worries, mate!  I became prideful.  And so I was humbled.  I had to trust God with my future… again (implying that perhaps I had been trusting in my own abilities).  But God is gracious and He is patient even when we make mistakes.

I think of others who are so talented and could do so much for the Kingdom, but because they won’t learn to let go of offences, they’ll have to re-take that ‘test’ again and again and again until they realise that God’s overarching call is for us to demonstrate Christ’s love to those who don’t deserve it… because that’s how Christ first loved us.  Unforgiveness, bitterness and/or holding a grudge is just like drinking poison everyday hoping that the person who offended you is going to die.  You are the only one who gets hurt.

I am reminded of 1 Corinthians 13: 1-8a…

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.

If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.

If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.

It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.

Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.

It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails.

I hope for their sake that it happens sooner rather than later.  “Learn the lesson quickly”. – another Joyce Meyer quote.

– Ames –

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thus far

Oh wow.

These past few days have been very trying for the soul.

Conflict drains you emotionally and spiritually, and that affects a person physically as well.  Something makes me feel that perhaps that forced time-out last week was to prepare me for what was perhaps the most challenging few days of my life thus far.

At the same time, I’ve become acutely aware of what an amazingly supportive network God has placed around me.  My parents have been a constant source of wisdom and godly counsel each step of the way.  They have prayed with me and for me, along with many others who were just an email or text or Facebook message away.  Thank you to those who have been interceding on my behalf.  I am so blessed.

The Word has guided my words and refreshed me when my strength was failing.  Jesus’ example has been my model for approaching the situation and by putting on love, by the grace of God, our efforts for unity were realised.  Praise God!  There are still some feelings hurt and I’ve written about forgiveness enough to know and advise (in time) that forgiveness is more for yourself than for the person that hurt you, whether the harm caused was intentionally or not.  Forgiveness brings freedom from bitterness and anger and allows you to love like Christ.

In other news: Job interview on Monday – prayers appreciated :).

– Ames –

to love like Christ

In my heart of hearts, I’ve always wanted to do what was right in the eyes of God.  I love Him and want to do what pleases Him.   And so, I sought the Lord earlier this week about how to deal with a certain situation before setting about my daily routine.

As I continued in my Bible reading plan, this passage jumped out at me from the pages:

14 After burying Jacob, Joseph returned to Egypt with his brothers and all who had accompanied him to his father’s burial. 15 But now that their father was dead, Joseph’s brothers became fearful. “Now Joseph will show his anger and pay us back for all the wrong we did to him,” they said.

16 So they sent this message to Joseph: “Before your father died, he instructed us 17 to say to you: ‘Please forgive your brothers for the great wrong they did to you—for their sin in treating you so cruelly.’ So we, the servants of the God of your father, beg you to forgive our sin.” When Joseph received the message, he broke down and wept. 18 Then his brothers came and threw themselves down before Joseph. “Look, we are your slaves!” they said.

19 But Joseph replied, “Don’t be afraid of me. Am I God, that I can punish you? 20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people. 21 No, don’t be afraid. I will continue to take care of you and your children.” So he reassured them by speaking kindly to them.

– Genesis 50:14-19

What sparked my interest was how Joseph dealt with his brothers.  He extended grace to the people who had intentionally tried to cause him harm.  He knew that whatever circumstances that occurred in his life, God would turn it all for good and in knowing that, he could love His brothers like God does – unconditionally, regardless of what good or bad they had done to him.

Selah.

I went out for a walk and had my phone playlist on shuffle.  After a song or two, a message came up from Elevation Church entitled, ‘The Fine Art of Friendship’ and in my head, I was like: ‘NO WAY!  You are too awesome, God!’

I listened intently and what stood out this time was this statement: “The greatest offence of the Gospel is sacrificial love.”  When we love each other sacrificially, no one can argue with us.

Selah.

I mulled on these thoughts for a day or two and considered my response to a person who had previously hurt me deeply.  Unlike Joseph’s brothers, it was unintentionally but using human logic there was no need for me to continue loving that person as a friend.  But God’s ways are higher than our ways.  They don’t always make sense.  I know to love like Christ, is to love regardless of a person’s offence.  We were not deserving of God’s love, but He gave His LIFE for us.  So to love like Christ is to extend grace especially to those who don’t deserve it.

I made the adjustments and there is peace :).

♥ Ames

1 John 4:7-8 NIV

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.

how wonderful

How wonderful it is to experience the freedom that can be found only in Christ.

How wonderful it is to feel genuine happiness for someone who has hurt you in the past.

How wonderful it is to be fully released from disappointment, hurt and sadness.

How wonderful it is to clearly see the evidence of growth and maturity in yourself.

How wonderful it is to be at peace with the world and with those around you.

How wonderful it is to know that you are living the life you were meant to live.

How wonderful it is to be alone but never lonely. 

How wonderful it is to live in complete liberty – only possible by the power of God.

Amen.

♥ Ames

the new is here!

I spoke with my old youth pastor on the phone today.  He called to see how I’ve been since the move.  It wasn’t a long conversation but as I gave thought to the things that have happened in the last 6 months, all I could say was how gracious God has been.  What I thought would be quite painful… wasn’t.  The transition into a new church and ministry was almost effortless (must be a God-thing ha) and I can see that God really has opened new doors and given me a new cause to live and breathe for.  This is how The Church grows and expands.  I’m sure I’ve written that before lol, this blog probably gets a bit repetitive at times as I don’t keep track of my posts as well as Leeleegirl :P.

I slept well last night.  Thanks for the prayers.  I also listened to the last part of ‘Getting Past Your Past’ – the part that I needed most to hear… Forgiving Yourself.

As a PK, I’ve always felt called to live by a higher standard, like the whole world (at least the church world) had their eyes on my every move (though, as Christians that’s what we should be doing anyway right?).  I was meant to set an example, be a role model for others, be the encourager, the one people could draw strength from etc. 

So when I was left to mend my brokenheart, I felt such a deep sense of total failure.  I felt like I’d disappointed my parents, God and most importantly (for my aching heart), betrayed my future spouse (whoever he may be).  I knew that God forgave me and my parents were so kind to me, even as I confessed all that I’d done behind their back but I had buried away the guilt, thinking that I’d already dealt with it.  The head knowledge of God’s truth and love was failing to translate into something real and personal. 

Hence, every interaction I had with the person that hurt me would indirectly and subconsciously remind me of the guilt I still carry around which would result in anger, frustration and shame.  Long story short, like David in Psalm 38:4, my guilt was overwhelming me like a burden too heavy to bear. 

Thank God for his good timing and the Holy Spirit that guides.  The words of Craig Groeschel in that podcast pierced something deep inside: “Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future.”  It’s ok not to be perfect, we all have a past but God gives us the power to help overcome our past.

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a journey of forgiveness

You’re like a bad habit that’s so hard to shake

Who knew this decision would be so tough to make

It’s time to stop playing back the past mistakes

It’s time to move on and forget the heartbreak.

– Ames, 18/10/11

Oh, boy.

Seriously.

It shouldn’t be this hard.

You’d think that I would be over it all by now and in my head I feel like I am.  Well, I’m definitely ready for it to be over already.  I was ready from the moment I said I was going to forgive him- not out of feeling like I wanted to or he deserved it but because I felt like it was my Christian duty to do so.  However, it hasn’t been easy.  I’ve realised that for some, yeah, forgiveness can happen just like ‘that’ *click fingers* but I’ve realised, I’m not one of those people.  I always thought I was but I guess I had lived quite a sheltered life until I got tested.  My parents were/are great and did their best to protect me from all sorts of pains but there came a time where my false sense of security got the better of me.

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Pre-forgiveness is prerequisite before you can truly forgive someone | Rick Thomas

Found this interesting:Pre-forgiveness is prerequisite before you can truly forgive someone | Rick Thomas.

From my personal experience, I think I just jumped straight to ‘forgiveness’ because it was the ‘Christian’ thing to do rather than work it through with God and allow Him to ‘adjust my heart so that I could genuinely forgive. In hindsight, that’s probably why I swung from being ok with stuff that had happened and resentment, bitterness or discouragement.

“You will be like a kite in the wind. Your response to the offender will depend on how you’re feeling, the type of sin sinned against you, the kind of relationship you have with the person, their attitude, your attitude, and the cravings of your heart.”

I think I am at Step 4 now-“The sin has been neutralized so you can discuss it from God’s perspective, your perspective, and the former offender’s perspective.”

“We must, by the grace of God, filter the events of our lives through the filter of God’s sovereignty. We then humbly accept those events as part of His good work in our lives. If we do this then we have a mature understanding and practice of biblical forgiveness.”

I can see now how God has used what has happened… to be expanded later.
♥ Ames