COMMANDMENTS


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Jesus said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.” And, “Love your neighbor as yourself.

For centuries we have been reading and quoting these two ‘commandments’ and that is fine. One should, above all else, love God first and foremost. One should also love their neighbor— ‘neighbor’ being one’s fellow man—no matter who that might be. There is also a third part to these ‘commandments’, which is grossly overlooked. This third part is the last two words. “…as yourself.”

We talk about the love God has for us and how this should be reciprocated. We talk about how we should love the sinner (which is anyone and everyone) but hate the sin. We talk about loving our enemies, even if we don’t like them, which almost seems like an oxymoron. We talk about showing the love of God, letting God’s love flow through us, being an example of God’s love to others, and countless other Christian clichés about loving others, but we, and those who instruct us, forget one tiny detail. If we don’t love ourselves, how can we love others?

The “normal” answer for this is – once we accept Jesus as our personal Savior and truly love God with all we are, then that love will permeate our being and flow out of us to others. That still doesn’t account for the fact that we find everything about ourselves to be hideous and repugnant. We still need to find some way to forgive ourselves for what we may have done in the past and accept the person we have, or will, become. That is the one thing that is not taught in our churches. “If God can forgive me, why can’t I?”

Yes, there are scriptures to help with this, such as, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus.” (Rom 8:1) But that is taken out of context. The condemnation referred to here is man being condemned by God for sin. Once the gift of salvation is accepted, God grants a ‘pardon’ for our sins and wipes the slate clean of any record of sin. The sin stain is gone and we now appear before God as ‘spotless.’ But, when we look in the mirror, we still see the same person with all of our character flaws, past sins, evil desires and so on.

We can run to the altar and tearfully throw ourselves down in sincere repentance, asking for God’s forgiveness until every one of our sins are recounted, relinquished and removed from God’s sight, but, when we are alone with ourselves, we still feel disgust, or even a loathing, for ourselves. So we are back the next week, repenting and sobbing, trying to get the love, forgiveness and acceptance we already have from God, when we are the only ones holding out on us. We know that He knows who we are and what we’ve done, but so do we. And therein lies the rub.

Usually, it is at this point that the Apostle Paul comes to mind saying, “I die daily,” meaning that little by little we are to take off the old man and put on the new. Some, like Paul himself, make an over night transformation, but for the rest of us it is a lifelong process.

Does that mean that we all have to become Christian Clones? At times it seems that way when you talk to some groups of believers. They all act the same, talk the same, and begin to look the same after a short time of being around them. If they are content to be the Stepford believers, then that is fine for them.

But it is our uniqueness that God likes. He created each of us individually, to be individuals, for our individual purpose. The only one we have to try to be like is Jesus, and that doesn’t mean we have to run around with an angelic face, spreading love and joy and peace all the time. We can have a personality of our own. We do have a personality of our own. That personality is what makes you you and God loves you for being you, just as he made you.   And all of your past experiences have shaped and molded that personality into who you are today.

So where does all of that leave us on loving ourselves so we can love our neighbors? Let me take a scripture totally out of context and say, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Rom 8:31) If God can forgive and accept us and love us for who we are, then why can’t we? Or better yet, why shouldn’t we? Are we greater than God? Is there any other standard higher than God’s? If we are good enough for God, we ought to be good enough for us!! Realizing that this is not going to be easy for some, if not most, there is just one more thing to say, meant as nicely as possible – Get over yourself. You are who you are and will be whom God created you to be if you quit trying to tell yourself you’re not good enough. If you’re waiting until you’ve arrived, you’re never going to get there. Never stop trying to improve, but realize that there was only one sinless, regretless, perfect man. Chances are that probably isn’t you, but it is a goal to strive for. In the mean time, just relax and know that everyone else was and is a sinner saved by grace.   You are the same as everyone else in that respect. Accept yourself for who you are and it will make it easier to accept—and love – others. You are unique, just like everybody.

©  Simply Consider This, 2014.

THE PACHYDERM IN THE VESTIBULE-revisited


elephantHe kind of snuck in when I wasn’t looking.
At first I didn’t even notice.
He was small, unassuming and quiet.
Most people ignored him when they came over
thinking he was ornamental.

But then he grew.
Fewer and fewer people came over
They were uncomfortable
with him in the room
I just worked around him as I passed by.

One day I had a hard time
getting out of my own house.
He seemed to block my way
So I went to the back door
And that seemed to work.

When he blocked
the entrance to the stairs
And I could no longer
get to my bed to sleep
I knew something had to be done.

I asked him to leave
but I could see that politeness
would not work.
I begged, then demanded and yet
he stood quietly in the vestibule.

Finally, in desperation,
I knocked down the wall
to the outside
When he saw the world outside
He went running to freedom.

The pachyderm is gone
But his memory lives on
I don’t miss him
He really messed up my house
Be watchful of the pachyderm

©  Simply Consider This, 2013.

This is a repost. Not something I would ordinarily do, but I thought some would enjoy seeing this who might have missed it the first go around.   Little things that we let into our lives can grow to be quite large if we let them.  Sometimes we are the last to see it and no one is willing to tell us that we have a problem.

THE RAGING STORMS INSIDE


 

-girl-depressionThere’s no place to hide
from the raging storm inside
Wondering what you have done
why life’s cruel pendulum swung
knocking feet out from under you
changing everything you once knew
The eyes with tears start to swell
pain of a broken heart tell
Jesus whispers in your ear
my dear child, I am here
catching every tear that falls
catching everyone and all
Never left alone are you
together we will walk this through
Every trial that comes your way
is not forever here to stay
Sorrow and pain being so real
thinking you could never heal
Convinced this path may never change
close to Me, my child remain
In this life there will be
sorrow, pain and suffering
Ever since the fall of man
changing God’s original plan
The here and now matters you see
I only ask you believe
My tender hand leading you though
step by step taking you
All fear that abides
deep within your heart inside
quickly disappears
as the Savior draws near
Peace He brings like never known
swiftly sent from the heavenly throne
Carried along by heaven’s best
come my child, into My rest
Comfort for your weary soul
strength and courage to be bold
Hope rebounds, spirit’s refreshed
surrounded by God’s presence
Pouring over you His love
gather strength from above
Pain and sorrow you now feel
soon my child will be healed
For I hold your tomorrows
passing is
this pain and sorrow.

©  Simply Consider This, 2013.

 

 

GET OVER YOURSELF


skier2We all have problems.  Whether it is something as simple as juggling a schedule to get the kids picked up after school or a life threatening disease, there will always be obstacles to overcome.  It is how we approach them and how we relate to them that will make the difference in whether we let them take over our lives or make a difference in someone else’s life.

I watched a story on the news about a skier who had a paralyzing fall and learned to ski sitting down.  She didn’t just sit down on the couch and give up.  She learned about a way that she could still pursue her love of skiing even with her disability.  Now she is making a difference in other people’s lives by promoting skier safety while pursuing her passion.  We see these human interest stories all the time, but, when something happens to most of us, we park ourselves in the mully grubs and sometimes never come out.

Sometimes these circumstances are of our own making and sometimes they are not.  If we have done something stupid (human) which caused the problem, we beat ourselves up even more.  Lets say you spent your life as a professional stunt man and, now that you are older, every joint in your body hurts.  Or maybe it was overeating, over spending, working in a high stress occupation, lack of ambition, procrastination, or just plain laziness.   There are a million and one reasons to regret and feel sorry for yourself.

King David had done some pretty stupid (human) things.  He committed adultery, brought the woman’s husband home from battle to try to cover up the fact that he (David) had gotten her pregnant, then, when that didn’t work out, had the man sent to the front lines to a certain death.  His punishment was, among other things, that the child born of this relationship would die.  When the child was struck with illness, and for seven days, David fasted, wept and prayed.  But when the child died, David got up, cleaned up and worshiped the Lord.  There was nothing more he could do, so it was time to get up and go on.  Yes, I am sure he was upset.  He most likely blamed himself for the child’s death.  He knew he had done wrong.  But it was now time to get up and get over himself.

Each of us has that choice to make every day.  We can sit and wallow in our self-pity or get up, wash our faces, and get on with it.  I know that there are those with seemingly insurmountable odds stacked against them.  Lives can be one step up and two steps back until you wind up in a hole you can not climb out of on your own.  David didn’t go it alone either.  The first thing he did was to worship (2 Samuel 12).  He got out of himself and turned to the one who could help him.  He didn’t go whining to God about how bad life treated him, he praised Him.  He worshiped the Lord.

Maybe if we spend less time looking in and more time looking out, the circumstances wouldn’t seem so huge that they can’t be overcome.  I realize and know from my own personal experience that the circumstances can be overwhelming at times.  Three years ago, I had neck surgery which was supposed to fix a problem, but instead left me paralyzed in my right arm.  When the doctors said there would be no more healing, that is when I began to get the use of my arm back.  I was rarely positive throughout the eighteen months it took to recover, but I did learn about faith and grace.  Sometimes the lessons take longer than we expect or hope for.

If God be for us, who can be against us.

HOW CAN I BE SET FREE


bound-with-chainsI really want to change
And break these binding chains
That have held me captive
Drowning in this blackness

Forever they have prevailed
My strength is weak & frail
How can I be set free
From these chains surrounding me

Broken, bruised and bleeding
My spirit cries out pleading
Desperate for the soul’s relief
From this hellish agony

Realizing now nothing will change
That self salvation is worthless gain
Does anyone hear my pleas
Oh dear God, come rescue me

In the torment of my tears
Comes Hope dispelling all fear
Wearily my soul lifts it’s head
No longer filled with ceaseless dread

Expectantly, I look upon His face
Full of mercy and of grace
Our eyes meet and become as one
Christ the Champion has comeOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

With blood stained hands He lifted me
Breaking all chains and now I’m free
Over all that held me bound
In Christ Jesus now I’m found

Such love I have never known
How my Father loves me so
Finally I’m changed and set free
No longer bound with chains you see

Free to worship and to praise
The glory of my Savior’s grace
This my song forever will be
Amazing Grace did rescue me

Now my story will I tell
How I was rescued from a living hell
Of a Savior’s Love that set me free
He can do this for you, as He did for meDELIVERANCE

God can work a miracle in you
This can be your story too
No longer captive & bound in chains
For this very reason Jesus came

©  Simply Consider This, 2013.

WHO AM I THAT I MAY REACH THE THRONE OF HEAVEN


So many demons in my own life, how can I pray?
My heart cries out to You, Oh Lord!
Incapable of slaying those haunting fearsth_womaninrain_zpsf260346f
I weep.
Crushing sadness fills the very essence of my person
overwhelmed I weep,  bitterly weep
Despair with all the force and power of a hurricane
sweep over me tormenting my mind
presenting my weaknesses and inabilities
which are thrown before me like uselessness
showcasing the poor, pitiful creature of creation I am
The pain of the pass failures, even those of yesterday
taunting and questioning any worth of my being…..
Who am I God?  Who am I that I should call out?
Who am I that I should be able to reach the throne of Heaven
Why would You, Oh Holy One care about my prayers?
Yet it is You who has called me to prayer
Oh wretched person that I am….I call out to You
I weep before You, Oh my God!
In Your mercy, you love me….You love me!
So undeserving of any grace
I fall before You in total shame and surrender
Liquid sorrow continually flows down my face
from the deepest inner most of my being it flows
pooling like a hidden spring breaking forth
Oh the tenderness of Your hand upon me
As You begin to speak my name in such love
Love, love that overwhelms the tortured soul
Your Grace like a salve is applied
Healing the cruelty of self inflicted wounds
Mercy by the blood of the Lamb cleansing the shame
and sin of my failures, my inabilities
Your Strength oh Lord,  begins to surge through me
Forgiveness and Righteousness are the cloak placed upon me
Reaching Your hand out to me, I feel Your heartcanvas
Oh the warmth of Your Presence
Gone is the fear of unforgiveness
Gone is the taunting of worthlessness
Gone are the voices of failure
Softy Your voice begins to speak
piercing my heart with Your words
Pray little one, pray
Pray My Word forth, speak Life where there is none
And you will see My Word move mountains
My Word breaks the darkness of lies and deceit
My Word heals the sick, mends the brokenhearted
My Word breaks all the chains of those bound
My Word sets the captives free
My Word gives strength to the weary
Pray little one, pray
Pray without condemnation
For no longer are you under the curse
Surrounded by Your Glory
You remind me of who I am…
You remind me that I am a Daughter of the Most High
You place on me the mantle of Your love
You have placed on me the Mantle of Prayer
Whispering in my heart, my mind, are Your Words
Encouraging me to boldly speak
With the authority that You have given me
Your Word comes fiercely to my mind
My mouth begins to speak forth Your Truth
Crushing all that would destroy
Banishing all fears of insecurity
Blotting out all past and present failures
And I stand, I stand in awe
Of Your Power and beauty
Filled once again
With the boldness of Your Holy Spirit
I am lifted up into the Holy of  Holies, into Your Presence
Oh, words cannot began to express this
saturation of who You are
There, there in this place I seek to stay
Here in this place I am made whole again
In Your Presence
Remind me Lord, of who I am in You
What You have called me to do
In You there is strength to accomplish the task
You have set before me
In You, I will stay
In You, I will speak boldly Your Word
In You I can say with all boldness
“no weapon that is formed against me shall succeed
and I shall refute every tongue that rises against me in judgment
This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD
and their vindication from me, declares the LORD.”
Therefore I will complete that which my Father has given me to do
without condemnation, without fear, without uncertainty of who I am in Him.
I will boldly come before my Father’s throne dressed in His Son’s righteousness
I will make my petitions known, with thanksgiving and praise
I will continue to pray, for nothing can stop me now

©  Simply Consider This, 2013.