Archive | August 2013

Offense

In Webster’s New Twentieth Century Dictionary, the number two definition of offense is  “The condition of being offended, especially of feeling hurt, resentful, or angry.”  There are words like insult, attack, assault, harm, injure, crime, transgression and sin in the definition of words connected to offense.

Is there anyone who has not been offended at some point in their life?  I think we face this powerful force more often than we recognize.

I think it is fair to say that we will not be offended or take offense unless we care about the person who offends us.  For if we do not care for the person or his opinion of us, it simply will not matter what they think of us.  I also think it is fair to say that there is not a person on the planet who has never been offended.

One of the Greek words that the King James Version of the New Testament uses for offence (KJV) carries the meaning “unintentional error or wilful transgression”.  Quote:  “The New Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible”

Sometimes we are not aware that we have offended someone, it could be a simple misunderstanding.  Other times our wilful, spiteful self wants some pay back and we offend on purpose.

There are two parties to every offense, every incident.  There is the offender and the one who is offended.  If the person offended chooses to forgive and receive healing for the wounds incurred, the incident will die a quick death.

If, however, the person offended chooses not to forgive, then the incident has the possibility of becoming a major war and there will be casualties.  There are times in our lives when the hurt, the wounding, is so deep that even though we go through the process of forgiveness, it takes time for those wounds to heal.

There are also times when we think we have forgiven someone who offended us but then something happens that reminds us of the incident, and the old wound begins to hurt again.  In that case, I believe there is something that is deeper, something we are not aware of, some reason why this wound is not healed.

I was reminded of this at church this morning as Pastor Nick larson preached on worship.  Funny how the Holy Spirit can take something that seems to have nothing to do with the issue and deal with your heart.

I felt like a curtain was pulled back and I could see that though I had forgiven the person who offended me, the wound was so deep that the wounded place in my heart was still not healed.  It was no longer about the person who offended me, it was about a place in my heart where I felt devalued, and in that place only the value that God places on me could heal the wound.

When we are confronted with an incident and the Holy Spirit brings conviction, we have to make a decision.  We can continue to increase the pain by allowing rejection and other toxic emotions to pour in, or we can choose as an act of our will to forgive.

When conviction comes on me, I cry.  I am so sad, sad for me, sad for how I have wounded God’s heart with unforgiveness.  I must be willing to face the reason why the pain is still there.   Flesh always wants justification.  It rationalizes concerning the other person’s sin, but does not want to see or deal with its own.

Isn’t it human to blame someone else?  Didn’t that begin in the Garden of Eden? Since then we humans have been pointing the finger of blame at someone else when things go wrong.  Could it be time that we all take responsibility for our own sin and leave other people’s sin to them and God?

Pastor Larson said we should focus on the debt that we owe God as opposed to the debt of the one who offended us.

Most of us have probably heard the words, “To err is human, to forgive divine.”  That is not in Scripture, but it is true.  The Bible teaches that it is our nature to sin.  You don’t have to teach a toddler to do wrong, he will do so instinctively.  We teach our children to do what is right.  Certainly the issues of what is right and what is wrong can be different depending on where you live, but there are basic behaviors that are acceptable in every culture and there are those which are not acceptable.

Pastor Larson said that “we need to get in tune with our indebtedness to God” and the price that Jesus paid on the cross for our freedom from the sin debt.  Only then will we be able to forgive as we have been forgiven.

God Bless you as you walk the road of life.  Seek Him who loved you enough to die so you could go free.

Joy

Joanna’s Song

Joanna does not have a voice and cannot tell her story, but I believe that it should be told.  I do not know of anyone with a similar story to hers and I think it would please her for you to know.

“I was a dream within God’s heart before the world was created…because He has a Father’s heart.  He had a plan for my life, and when He created Adam He saw those who would come from his loins; I was among them.  When the world became so wicked, when all men hated God, “Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord” and he and his family were spared the deluge; I was in his loins.   My father Abraham was told that his “seed” would be as the sands of the sea; I was in his loins.  And, when the “fulness of time” had come, I was conceived in my mother’s womb from the seed of my father’s loins.  But…….I never came to birth.”

You are probably thinking that this child was aborted and if so you would be wrong.  Nor was she a product of SIDS, some disease or illness.  I was Joanna’s mother, my husband was her father and the true story, up until now, was known only to a few.

My husband and I married when we were in our mid twenties during the time of the Viet Nam war.  When my husband returned from Viet Nam our intention was to start a family, however, conception did not come.  It was a very distressing time.

From the time I can remember, as a young girl, I wanted nothing more than to be married and have babies.  I had very few “boyfriends” while I was in high school, and for many years after high school I saw no one.  There was a short period of time when I dated, but again nothing that lasted.

When I met my future husband there was something that happened in my heart, I came to realize he was the one I had been waiting for, and now almost 50 years later, that spark is still there.  In fact, I love him more today than I ever have.

We desired a family, but conception did not happen and so there were fertility tests, much sorrow, grief and pain until finally the miracle of conception came.

To our union God brought two sons….God’s gracious gift and Truth teller.  We were blessed to have them.

Joanna’s story begins when our boys were eight and ten.  I am from a family of seven, and though I was not raised in my parents home, I loved a big family and wanted at least six children.  My husband and I did not agree on the number, and as it turned out there were just the two boys….until I became pregnant for the third time.

I am what some would call a “girly girl”.  I love ribbons, lace, fixing hair, etc…the whole dresses, shoes, purses thing.  I wanted a daughter to do all of those things with.  That was the desire of my heart and Scripture says that God gives us the desire of our heart.  I believe He puts the desire in our hearts and then fulfills it.  Others may disagree and that is their prerogative.

When I knew that I was pregnant for the third time I was excited and afraid at the same time because my husband did not want any more children.  As it turned out he was accepting of it.  That, however, is also not the end of the story, for early one morning when I woke up, the Lord put a very serious question to me.

I heard these words:  “Do you want to have this natural child or would you like to have spiritual children.”  You might say, “Why can’t you have both.” , and for some that is possible, very possible and probable, but not for me.

Do you know that God is so personal with each of us that His plan is tailor-made just for us?  In fact, one day He made this statement to me:  “If you had been the only one who needed to be saved I would have died just for you.”  That is almost beyond belief.  There is no earthly love like that!

I asked for a day to think about God’s question and I was given that time.   For some reason, probably only known to God, I am a one track-minded person.  When I do something, that thing is what consumes my heart, my thoughts and actions,  I really cannot explain the process that went on inside of me, but in the end, I chose spiritual children.

The next morning, the Lord came for my decision.  I laid my desire for a daughter on the altar of the Lord and I received future spiritual children by faith.

I made breakfast for my boys and saw them out the door, when I closed the door the cramping came.  Joanna had been two months in my womb when she went home to be with the Lord.  A visit to the doctor confirmed the pregnancy and his statement was, “Normally, when a woman loses a baby we have to do a D&C, but your uterus is clean so we won’t have to.”

Today I am the joyful mother of two handsome sons, who have brought me two beautiful daughters-in-love and ten grand-children.  To this number God has added many spiritual children.   It is a privilege and a responsiblity that I cherish.

The end of this story, this song, is that Joanna awaits her family in Heaven, where she is now thirty-three years earth age.  How I look forward to meeting her and hearing her side of the story.

Pastor Steve Poe tells “The Story” as having  two stories, the Upper Story and the Lower Story.  While John Eldredge tells of the Inner Story and the Outer Story.  The Bible is God’s story, the story of His love as seen through His Son, Yahshua.

This morning I was thinking of John 3:16 where God tells us about His love, His heart for people.  He loved so much that out of that love He gave the ultimate sacrifice, He sent His Son to earth where He was horribly mistreated and ultimately crucified by the Romans.  Jesus died and was buried in a borrowed tomb.  Again not the end of the story, because on the third day He arose.  Today He is with our Father.

Joanna returned to her creator and now you have heard her story, her song.  I pray that it has blessed you, dear reader, or at least caused you to think on these things.

Joy