Chapter 3: Lord, Help Me to Be a Forgiving Person

This is a chapter that not only we women need, but I think men need as well. Forgiveness sometimes can be hard to completely comprehend. If you forgive someone, do they need to apologize first? Do they need to accept that they were wrong? If they don’t, do we still need to forgive? What about forgetting? Does forgiving someone mean that we have to forget what happened to us?

I tell my children never to use the word “hate”. It is a very strong word, and I just don’t like to hear it used. God does not want us to hate, but to love. It was interesting to read though, that even though I don’t like the use of the word “hate”, that if I don’t forgive them, it is the root of hate.

I learned all about this before I was 19 from two family members. I grew up in a family filled with love. We would do anything for each other. Give the shirt off our back. But I had two relatives that did not “fit“ the family mold. I had one relative that I was afraid that if I was ever in a situation where he and I were alone, that I might get sexually abused. I tried to avoid him at all cost. The other family member was so self centered in his own immediate family that he really strained my relationship with his wife for a whole year. Instead of coming to me with issues he had with me when I lived with them for a year, he went through his wife, which ended up straining our relationship that year. I held on to those feelings of unforgiveness even after I became a Christian, and it wasn’t until I was convicted by God, that even though they never apologized and probably never will, it wasn’t up to me. I needed to forgive them. And I did.

You see I didn’t need to wait for them to apologize. It didn’t justify what they had done. I gave it over to God to let him handle and He will handle it. To this day, I feel SO much better knowing that I don’t have to deal with it anymore. I have a God who deals justly with all people.

If you have read any of my early blog entries, you will see that I went through a period of sexual refusal toward my husband. When my eyes were finally opened, when I was truly ready to hear the truth, God revealed to me that while my husband had forgiven me for my past, and God forgave me when I confessed my sin, that I hadn’t forgiven myself, and that gave Satan a foothold into my marriage bed. Since I finally forgave myself, I have been able to heal, and my past is just there… in the past.

I have found lately that Jesus verse about forgiveness 70×7 times is on my mind a lot. (Matthew 18-21-22) I realized something… there is no way I could keep count of forgiving someone 490 times. I would so lose count and have to start over again. I think that is God’s point on forgiveness.

For anyone who has a hard time with forgiveness, remember this. You, yourself, have had a LARGE debt forgiven if you are a Christian. Jesus died for ALL of your sins, not just the ones he chooses to forgive you for. We have no right to be unforgiving for any reason.

Please feel free to post anything that really stood out to you. I think the biggest thing I need to remember where forgiveness is concerned, is to remember Jesus sacrifice to forgive me when I find myself feeling unforgiving toward someone else.

Chapter 2: Lord, Cleanse me and make my heart right before you.

This chapter is going to be very useful to me as I apply it in my life.   As I read through this chapter several times, I realize that I think of myself as a good person.   My faith in the Lord is strong.  I have been told that I am “spiritually mature” in my outlook on life.   I know of one BIG sin in my life that I am confessing of and repenting of during this chapter, too.  It’s going to take some time talking to the Lord about it to get it taken care of.   But as Stormie mentioned in the chapter, I am one of those people that have a hard time seeing the small, hidden sins, and I am in great need of God bringing those forth so I can confess.

I can be very black and white at times, so I like to think that I have a good grasp on right and wrong.  With that in mind, here are some things that I picked up on in this week’s chapter…. First thing that I highlighted in my book “It’s realizing that you can’t make anything happen, but you can surrender your life to God and let Him make things happen.”   Try as I might in my daily life, I find that things usually work best when I include God in the plans.  His plans usually work much better than the things that I try to do on my own.   I am a type A, administrative type.   I am a doer.   I don’t like to sit back and wait for someone else to do it, especially at work.  I do it myself.   I need to spend some time with God, listening to His plan for my life, His plan for my work, His plans for me.    I need to stop doing and start being still and listening.

This makes me squirm… “In order to see positive changes happen in your life, you have to be open to the cleansing and stretching work of the Holy Spirit.”   Am I being deceived about myself and my life?  I think so.   I just can’t see it, but I can feel it…. that nagging sensation that there is something that I am just not seeing…. I guess that is the feeling I have been having lately…. the Spirit trying to stretch me and mold me.   Nudging me toward God to the next step….confessing.    I have no clue what sins are buried deep within me sometimes.  I feel the Spirit trying to flesh them out though.

But I finally realized that all sin is sin, so I confessed my resentment to God as sin – and the moment I did, the feeling of sickness in my body left. ”  I have a feeling that will be my testimony soon.

The concepts of confessing and repenting are lessons that I am working on with my daughter.   She can be one of those people who are “professional apologizers” and I am trying to work with her on her level of understanding about that repenting means intending to never do it again.   Not just saying sorry to be forgiven if you truly don’t feel sorry.   I liked when she said, “Repentance means being so deeply sorry for what you have done that you will do whatever it takes to keep it from happening again.”   When I confess, I truly feel that way.  I don’t want to do it again, and I try my hardest not to do it… my black and white kicks in.  When I know it is truly wrong, I know it and don’t want to do it again.

So, I am off to do some serious discussion with the Lord about what I need to know is in my heart that needs confessing.    What are your thoughts on this chapter?  What does it bring out for you?

Lord, Draw Me into a Closer Walk with You

Let me start this post by thanking Stormie for making her chapters filled with so much information, but at the same time, making them in short, easy readable chapters.   That has been so refreshing.  It’s given me the chance to read this chapter, and subsequent chapters, several times before writing on them.

I decided with this chapter to put down some thoughts and “A HA” moments that I had and marked in my book.

1.  God is a God who can be found and who can be known.   It’s not that I didn’t know this, of course, but it led to my next thought…. a couple sentences later when she says, “If I could sit down and talk with you in person about your life, I would tell you that if you have received the Lord, the answer to what you need is within you.”  I realize that it is true.  There are times when I wonder what I am supposed to do in a situation, and that quote reminded me.  I have it all in me already…I just have to tap into the Holy Spirit who unifies me with God.  I know I needed that reminder.

2.  God is the only one who can give all that we need.  My deepest needs and longings will be met by Him in the intimate relationship I have with Him.   I realized that was true, too.  Many times, I will expect my husband to meet my needs.  Or a good friend.   Or my children.   None of them can fill me up and meet my needs like God can.    (Sorry, honey!)  No one but God can read my mind and my heart.   He knows what I want and need and all I need to do is ask him.  A personal relationship with him is all I need.

3.  God used Stormie to speak to me in this passage.  “But if you don’t draw apart from the busyness of your day and spend time alone with Him in quietness and solitude, you will not hear it.” (being what God has to say to me.)  I need to MAKE time with him.   I need to sit down with my schedule and say THIS IS MY TIME WITH GOD, and keep it.  Daily.   I think this is something I need to try to instill in my children as well.

4. All the names that God has.   Yeah, I know a lot of them.   There were some in this section that I just didn’t think about, but in my soul as I read them, I knew it was true.   Some of those names that she drew from scripture…strength, peace, lifter of my head, refiner, wisdom, counselor, resting place… the imagery I get of each of these names takes my breath away.

I worship best when I listen to music and sing.   Reading this chapter reminded me of one of my favorite songs.  When I read the verse “The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.” (Proverbs 18:10), my mind went straight to the Kutless song Strong Tower.

So after reading the chapter for yourself, what did you draw from it.  What stuck out in your mind as an “A HA” moment?  Did God speak to you through the words in this chapter like he did to me?  Can’t wait to start a conversation about this chapter.

The Power

I can’t possibly tell you how much I need this book right now.   Just as Stormie has hinted at in this initial chapter, ask me to pray for you, and I will.  But I can honestly say that I can’t remember when I have prayed for myself or my own needs.   I can’t remember the last time I spent my own private personal time with my Savior.  In my world today as a wife, mother, church member, supervisor, employee, daughter, sister, aunt, cousin, niece…. Notice, I haven’t mentioned me.

Like Stormie’s testimony, I have never stopped walking with God.   I go to church, I participate in Sunday school (as of late),  but  my walk with God is not intimate.   I can’t find time in my day to spend time with God.  I had a system down years ago…. How I got out of the habit, I have no clue.  Busyness, I presume.  I will confess that I am depleted some days.  Tired all the time.  I spend all day pleasing people…my employees, families that come to my place of employment,  trying to create more business for my business, …. Just today, I was planning on taking 30 minutes at work just to close my door and take out my Bible and see where the Lord might take me, but when the time came…. Something else came up that I HAD to do.   Get done working, then I get the kids at school….if you have ever met my daughter, you would know that she needs convincing from the time she gets home to the time that she goes to bed that she does NOT need Mom to entertain her for those 6 hours.  Incessant talking.   Wishing I had just 5 minutes to myself…oh, yeah, and the dog manages to get the door open when I am trying to hide in the bathroom.   A one year old mixed breed that needs entertained or she chews up anything she gets her mouth on.  Do you think I can find time with God at home?  Does this sound familiar to you at all?  What’s your story?

My story may not be yours, but we may have one truth in common that Ms. Omartian brings forth.  Do you know how to pray for yourself?  Do you know exactly what you need from your Heavenly Father?  I don’t.  Oh, it’s not that I don’t know what I need, it’s that my head gets so boggled while trying to pray, that I usually give up.  Satan knows how to play me like a harp.   But sisters in Christ, I don’t want to just live day to day.  I just don’t want to arrive in heaven some day with a bare minimum relationship with the man who gave up everything for me.   Ladies, I don’t know about you, but I know I need to tap into God’s power to help overthrow Satan’s grip on my life.  There is nothing more pleasing to Satan than to mess around with our lives and our relationship with God.  We need to be sure that we know how to tap into God’s power over Satan.  That power, my friends, is in our prayers.

Starting next Monday, we’ll discuss chapter one, “Lord, Draw Me into a Closer Walk with You”.   I can’t wait!

Reminder: Book Study starts next week!!

Don’t forget that next week, we start The Power of a Praying Woman.  We’ll start with the introductory chapter , The Power.  We will read and discuss one chapter a week.  The nice thing is that the chapters are relatively short, about 10 pages.  Hopefully you will want to contribute to the weekly discussions.

I am new to leading a book study, never done it before, so be patient with me as I try something new!  I think this will be a very interesting book to read together.

New Book Study! Starting soon!

Starting on Monday, September 12, I will be starting our next book study.    If you would like to join in the study, I chose the book “The Power of a Praying Woman” by Stormie OMartian.   I enjoyed her book “The Power of a Praying Wife”, and I know I personally, I pray for everyone, but myself.   In my daily walk with the Lord, which I will admit is sometimes nonexistant, I am not taking care of my own relationship with the Lord.  So I am hopeful that this book will help me to get my relationship back with God and that as I enter a new season in life, I will definitely need the Lord to guide and help me.   Will you join me?

 

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