One morning, God stopped me in the middle of something (I thought) was very important and gave me a lesson in discipline. This is what happened:
I was studying my Bible to prepare a lesson for the Women’s Bible Study when the phone rang. The church secretary informed me that the room I had reserved for the Bible Study would not be available because someone else needed it.
I thought: What?! Are you kidding me? So what?
(Little did I know, the Lord was getting ready to take me down a completely different path than the one I was on.)
It was hard to continue preparing my Bible lesson when I was so angry. I thought: They can’t just take my room! This is ridiculous! Who do they think they are? That’s not fair!
I knew my attitude was wrong, but I couldn’t help it. I felt justified.
Then a Scripture came to my mind.
“Above all else, guard your heart,”came the still small voice. (Proverbs 4:23)
Honestly, I didn’t really want to, but I listened. Then another Scripture came to my mind. “Do not think of yourselves more highly than you ought.” (Romans 12:3) and“Honor one another above yourselves.” (Romans 12:10)
Then, God said to me, “Forgive”.
“For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” (Matthew 6:14-15)
As an act of my will, I forgave. But I still felt really annoyed. Then the Lord brought another Scripture to my mind. “See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up.” Hebrews 12:15
To forgive is a decision, but I knew that if I kept rehearsing this over and over in my mind, bitterness would take root. I needed God’s grace.
Thank God we can “Come boldly to the throne of grace … and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Hebrews 4:16
What is our time of need? It is when we are too weak to do something in our own strength. The Lord told Paul, “My grace is sufficient, …. for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9
Hebrews 13:9 says, “It is good to be strengthened by God’s grace.”
Oh how we need to rely on God’s grace to serve Him!
“Let us have grace whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.” Hebrews 12:28 KJV
“And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” 2 Corinthians 9:8
God was teaching me that I can easily justify a selfish attitude. But if I want others to see the love of God through me, I must walk in His ways.
It wasn’t the circumstances in question that were important. The real issue was – would I guard my heart? He taught me to rely on Him because His grace is sufficient.
If you need God’s grace today, go boldly to the Throne of Grace.
“For the Lord God is our sun and our shield. He gives us grace and glory. The Lord will withhold no good thing from those who do what is right. O Lord of Heaven’s Armies, what joy for those who trust in you.” Psalm 84:11-12 NLT
“My heart is overflowing with a beautiful thought! I will write a lovely poem to the King, for I am as full of words as the speediest writer pouring out his story.” Psalm 45:1 TLB
God's grace is greater than all my doubts.
Only He can drive them out.
I pray for what I cannot see
And trust the One who set me free.
I fall before the throne of grace
Boldly asking for a place
That quiets all my hurts and fears
That this world brings with all its tears.
What promise shall we not believe?
He gave His life upon a tree
That you and I would always know
The greatest love He could bestow.
So doubt I tell you, "You must go!"
I turn to Him, because He knows
The secrets bound inside my soul.
There's nothing that He does not know.
My Savior calls me by my name.
He takes my hand and heals my shame.
He says to me, "I understand.
I know the pain this life demands."
"Come to me and make your plea
Nothing is too hard for me.
Come to me and you will know
The peace and love that heals your soul."
Jesus said,“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matthew 11:28-30 MSG
This Is My Journey Unscripted.
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“All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.” 1 Peter 5:5-6 NIV
I was eavesdropping on a conversation recently (couldn’t help it – I was at the hair salon!) Anyway, one lady was complaining about her husband and another woman. The stylist listened attentively and threw in an occassional “Ohhh!” or “No!!” The complaining lady was really angry (and I could see why!)
I couldn’t stop thinking about what I overheard because it related to the subject of today’s post. When we’ve been deeply hurt and can’t forgive, it will lead to bitterness of heart.
The problem with bitterness is that, even though your anger and resentment may be justified, it will destroy you. Stephen Diamond, Ph.D., describes bitterness as “a chronic and pervasive state of smoldering resentment,” and deservedly regards it as “one of the most destructive and toxic of human emotions.”
He says, ” if we repeatedly ruminate over how we’ve been victimized, our “nursing” our wrongs may eventually come to define some essential part of who we are. Take hold of our very personality. And so we’ll end up becoming victims not so much of anyone else but, principally, of ourselves.”
Hebrews 12:15 says, “See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.”
Since a root is the hidden part of a plant or tree, we can think of a bitter root as being the hidden source of bitterness. What is the seed from which that bitter root sprouts in our heart? It’s that tiny speck of unforgiveness, that tiny speck of indignation that we allow to remain in our hearts. It’s that tiny speck of resentment that we justify in our mind.
Let’s call this tree Bitterness. The function of it’s roots are the same as other roots. Roots can keep a tree in place for hundreds of years and nothing can move it . Winds and storms won’t dislodge it!
Secondly, the roots nourish the tree to make sure it keeps growing stronger and stronger.
And lastly, roots can cause trouble when they grow where they aren’t wanted – like when they invade water pipes or sewer systems.
Is it any wonder that God used the analogy of roots when warning us about bitterness? But where He gives a warning, he provides an answer.
“Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Hebrews 4:16 NIV
“You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.” 2 Timothy 2:1 NIV
As we humbly come to Him, seeking His way and His will, God will provide the grace to forgive and let go. Many times, the injustice we must forgive cannot be forgiven in our own strength, but God’s grace is sufficient. (2 Corinthians 12:9) And what is the opposite of bitterness? Contentment, Happiness, Sweetness! That is God’s plan for you.