Hidden

For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.  Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before His eyes, and He is the one to whom we are accountable.

—Hebrew 4:12-13

 

Looking out across the water to a small island, I could see something in the wildflowers growing there.

An Anhinga bird was behind them.

Looking at my photograph later, it almost looks as if he is hiding.

He does blend in with a certain amount of camouflage, yet upon closer inspection, he’s hard to miss.

I’ll never know if he was truly intending to hide that afternoon, but I can certainly identify with him if he was.

At times in my life–even as a child–I wanted to just hide away and be alone, in what I felt was a safe place.

There are many reasons, however, to hide.

Shame.

Guilt.

Fear.

Failure.

Sadness.

Depression.

Grief.

The list is long.

We may hide from people and flee from circumstances, but we cannot hide from God.

He sees us wherever we are, in whatever condition we are in.

Our emotions may urge us to hide, yet His great love beckons us back into the open–in the light of His comfort and forgiveness.

 

 

 

 

 

hidden

By Grace

The words come back to me and I find myself singing them in my mind…
Matthew West has written a song that I hear quite often on the radio. 
Here is a sample of the lyrics:
There’s a war between guilt and grace

And they’re fighting for a sacred space

But I’m living proof

Grace wins every time

No more lying down in death’s defeat

Now I’m rising up in victory

Singing hallelujah

Grace wins every time. 
Ephesians 2:8-9 states:

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. 
Have you ever felt that there was a conflict going on inside you concerning guilt and its relationship to forgiveness?
There may be someone you know who feels so guilty about a situation they can’t seem to grasp the fact that God is willing to forgive them. 

The song lyrics describe it as a “sacred space.”

This forgiveness—our salvation and redemption—is a gift from God. There is nothing we can do to earn it. Instead, we must only accept it. 

As believers in the world, each one of us is living proof that grace is victorious through the sacrifice of Jesus. 

I Will Give You Rest

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I have a friend who has a restful looking hammock in her backyard.

Is it possible to look at a hammock and not think about resting?

When we come in from a long day at work and we are finally able to lie down, a sweet feeling of relief ensues.

Many people cannot find emotional and spiritual rest.

Tired and weary of pain from the past.

Weighed down by shame and guilt.

Unsettled.

Looking this way and that, could there be a way to rest?

Jesus says He will give us rest.

He says that He will give us rest for our souls.

Nothing else will work.

He is the only answer to the burdens that we carry.

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 “All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.

 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

—Matthew 11:27-30

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rest

Before You Hear About It

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I had never heard it put like that before.

Certainly listening carefully to others is a noble action.

Today, while looking at a publication, I read that if the letters of listen are rearranged, they can spell silent.

I was shocked.

Such a simple truth hidden in a tiny cluster of letters.

To listen—really listen—we must be silent.

It even goes farther than that, actually.

We need to listen all the way through before responding to what is being said.

If we don’t, we can end up looking pretty ridiculous.

Proverbs 18:13 tells us,

“To respond to a matter before you hear about it
    shows foolishness and brings shame.”

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respond

To Cleanse Us

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Clean.

How important is that to me?

A lot of money is spent each year on cleaning products.

Products to clean floors.

Products to clean dishes.

Products to clean clothes, furniture—even products to clean me.

When I began to cook dinner this evening, I pulled a pan from the dishwasher to use.

Checking it’s cleanliness, I noticed that there was still a very tiny amount of residue on the pan.

This made it unacceptable for me to use until it was cleaned.

Choosing a steel wool pad with embedded soap, I began to scrub the pan.

After rinsing it with water, I was satisfied with the result.

As I was cleaning it, I thought about what I was doing in the context of spiritual cleanliness.

We all want to be clean, don’t we?

Forgiven?

Free of guilt?

Removed from shame?

Some people try to become “clean” in a variety of ways.

Actively doing a number of good things to make up for the bad things they have done.

Simply hiding the actions and attitudes they are ashamed of.

Vowing to be better by a sheer act of will.

Tonight, as I took the pan from the washer, just rinsing it with water would not have been enough to get it clean.

The spots of left over food had dried and stuck fast to the metal.

Using the steel wool pad removed it in seconds.

If the pan was going to be clean, it was going to have to be cleaned in the proper way.

If you and I are going to be clean–forgiven, free of guilt and shame–our efforts are not going to be enough.

It is going to take an act of God to make us clean.

That act of God has already occurred.

God sent His Son, Jesus, to die on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins, making us clean in His sight.

If you are tired of trying to get clean on your own, He understands.

If you are weary from the weight of living life apart from God, He is ready to lighten your load.

It’s not too late.

Ask God to forgive you.

Tell Him you believe in Jesus and what He has done for you.

Commit your life to His guidance.

It’s going to feel really good to finally be………..

clean.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

—1 John 1:9

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