Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Can you keep a secret....

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"Can you keep a secret?"

Last spring I was stopped at a gas station on my cell phone when another mom whispered "Can you keep a secret?"  I made my kids get out of the car before she whispered through the phone that she was expecting baby number five!  I was so happy for her - she explained that while her husband knew and was joyful, their extended family didn't know yet - so could I keep it a secret - just for a little while.  I rejoiced in her happy secret and smiling to myself invited my kids to get back in the car. 

Then a mom asked me to keep a secret about her shy daughter who had a crush - she was so cute and nice - I told mom I would join her prayers for wisdom, and never say a word.  

And then last fall a mom had a secret, and she didn't share it, not with me, not with anyone. She knew it was a big problem, she knew she needed help, but she didn't share the secret.  And then last week another mom called me with a secret - the same big secret -and I sent my kids from the room and prayed a "Dear Jesus help me" prayer as the whole ugly secret came spilling out and even though no one else knew - God knew the whole time - and then I knew the truth that had been concealed in the fall and the hurt and harm such a concealment had caused. 

I may love a happy news type of secret - I may keep a "bear my burden in prayer" kind of secret - but then there is the truth that sin loves a secret.  And there is a secret that sin doesn't want us to know about secret sin - and I can't keep it a secret!

Sin loves a secret because in secret, sin can be justified. In secret, sin can convince you that "it's not that bad" or "that won't really happen." Secretly, Eve ate the apple as the serpent hissed "Surely, you will not die." Sin loves a secret because it can cunningly convince you that it's secret will be kept, that no one will know. 
Luke 8:17 For nothing is hidden that will not be made manifest, nor is anything secret that will not be known and come to light.
Many times secrets are kept out of fear, fear of rejection, fear of sin being known, humiliation... secrets not only fester in the darkness - but they become heavy - so heavy they burden the soul. 

It is my prayer that my fellow believers can let go of such fear!  
1 John 4:15-18 If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. 16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. 17 This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. 18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
Truth says that if I belong to God, He is for me, Christ is in me, and I have no more fear of judgement. I can admit sin, I can overcome sin through Christ's power at work in me, and I - who live in perfect love covered by the blood of Jesus - no longer have to live in fear and shame.  Sin doesn't have to be a secret that we keep - for ourselves or for others - because sin loves a secret.  In secret, sin can harrass the sinner, berate them, tear them down all day and night - like a sin secret so big it will overwhelm and consume you.  But in the light, the secret is less, and I don't need to keep the sin secret - because we are covered by a perfect love that drives out the fear of the sin secret and allows believers to surround the repentant sinner, the brother or sister, with Christ's love and forgiveness.

And therein is the tension of the gospel!  The beautiful messy everyday grace that we all need to uproot the sin secrets in our lives and outwit the cunning snakes that whisper in the night about how we aren't good enough and no one will love us, and life isn't worth living.

Christ says his load is light - and it's the light that drives away the darkness and it's the lightened load to admit we are all sinners - and then light to love one another in spite of our fallen selves.

Can you keep a secret? No - the secret is out - Christ has washed away our need for secrets and the only thing we need now is grace and the strength to love each other through all our spilling secrets.

Sin loves a secret, and fear keeps a secret, but perfect love frees us from all our secrets. Praise God!

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

His Strength

There are times when I am frustrated. October brought news that Drason's college fees would not be paid, certain repairs on our home would not be completed this year.  Yet, in November, God provided an unknown scholarship to help him complete his classes.  He will graduate Magna Cum Laude in January.  Sometimes God speaks to us in a gentle whisper, sometimes a shout, sometimes He expects us to know His will, trust Him, and just keep walking forward.  We did and He did the work.

December brought it's own challenges - for the first time in many years I accepted a job outside of our home.  We learned a LOT this month.  The Lord revealed to me, again, how beloved I am in His sight.  He is my strength and shield.  He reminded me of my capacity, ability.  He showed me again that in my weakness He is strong and His Glory is what matters.  God likes what others call garbage - and uses the weak for his purposes.  He also showed me once again that I am able to do all things through Christ who strengthens me, and revealed personal value in a way that, while friends may speak it, it's sometimes easy to see yourself as "just a mom/wife/worker"  The JOY of the Lord was my strength.  I found joy in a simple, yet physically demanding task, and was able to share that joy with others around me -  "Let your light so shine before men that the will see it and glorify your Father in Heaven"  I found the opportunity to create community and a spirit of helpfulness and good works in a workplace where I was only there very temporarily.  What a blessing!

In addition we have sought the Lord in how to handle family differences and how to honor the Lord in our holiday celebrations, This year God opened doors with family that had not been opened before, allowing for the opportunity for offence to be removed and for peace to prevail. It was joyous and relaxing!

At the end of my job I was randomly selected and given a bonus (which was very much needed to meet our financial needs), my supervisors praised me, my husband was proud of my accomplishments.  Because God opened the doors to allow us to skip some family things without offence - we were protected from a rather nasty bug that was passed around.  We have had all of our needs provided for, our bills paid, and Drason also will receive a bonus for his hard work and dedication.

These blessings are awesome and I am humbled by them. God is so good to us.  His mercies are new each morning, His love is unfailing. Thank you Lord for all you have done for us!

November 30th my van wound up in a ditch (it was a wet day) and we have been waiting all month to get our vehicle repaired - the insurance company is being rather slow.  How can I, in the face of all this, doubt that God will provide for us and give us the repairs or the vehicle that we need.  Father God, your strength is made perfect in my weakness, you see value where others see trash. Please help us to overcome this latest hurtle.  Thank you for all of your blessings - help us know how to best honor you Lord.  In Jesus name I pray, Amen.