The danger of hate and unforgiveness

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Photo by Bruce Nevin Haines

by: Carole L. Haines

I woke up from a terrible dream where I was in a meeting and the very people who wounded me so deeply, were now hurting someone else in my life. In the dream I went ballistic and kept repeating over and over again, “I hate them! I just hate those people!” I was pacing back and forth in the room and just couldn’t calm down. All the people in the meeting were trying to help me calm down, but I just couldn’t, I was so upset. I woke up and just couldn’t get back to sleep. It was then that I knew just how huge my resentment and unforgiveness was toward these people.
Have you ever been that wounded?  Jesus has been putting the finger on this area in me for a little while now, and I just didn’t want to deal with it. I wanted God to make those people be sorry for what they did to me and how they treated me.  But He was dealing with me, and I needed to take heed to what He was revealing about myself, and not be so concerned about those who had hurt me. That is God’s business, not mine.

The Old Testament uses the word forgiven about 24 times, the New Testament 38 times. The Old Testament deals with the Law, and The New with God’s Grace.  His Word says:
God also made us adequate as servants of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.” (2 Corinthians 3:6)
When I try to exact justice for a wrong from another person, I am resorting back to the Law. The Law does not breathe life into me, The Spirit does. The Law says:
19 If a man injures his neighbor, just as he has done, so it shall be done to him: 20 fracture for fracture, eye for eye, tooth for tooth; just as he has injured a man, so it shall be inflicted on him. (Leviticus 24:19-20)

Our souls demand justice for our enemies, yet we want God’s grace for ourselves.

Jesus says this: “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. (Matthew 5:43-45)

I asked God to show me an Acronym for HATE. The title to this Devotion is what I discerned:
Hell Alight, Truth Extinguished.
Hate distorts everything, even truth. It extinguishes God’s influence on our spirits and opens us up to all kinds of evil.  I don’t want hate in my life, I want His Love toward others. Please pray for me and with me for this, and join me in seeking purity and truth in the innermost parts.  I don’t want to just be saved by the Gospel, I want to manifest it to the world.

Help me, Jesus, to be a light in a dark place, soothing grace by forgiveness, and a fragrance of You everywhere I go. Forgive me, Lord, for not forgiving others as You have forgiven me so much. Teach me how to love those who have harmed me as You love me. I just don’t know how to do it. Amen.

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The Light of the World

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By: Carole L. Haines

14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; 15 nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 5:14-16 NASB)

I was in a fantastic small group of fairly transparent women last night. It was so precious, just sharing from our hearts what Jesus has been revealing to us lately.   I shared about how Jesus has been showing me that I lack peace because I have forgotten who I am in Him. He is leading me back into My Identity in Christ. I said it was kind of like having a jewelry box of beautiful things we never wear, that we never enjoy.  We miss all the sparkle and shine, the shimmer and glow, when we just keep the lid closed.

Right after I shared that, a wonderful woman spoke up and said, “You know, if we keep the lid closed, no one else can see all the sparkle either.” I was blown away by that truth.  Not only do we lose our luster over time, by letting our pearls get dusty and our diamonds stay hidden; but the rest of the world doesn’t get to see our Precious Lord and Savior through us.  We must keep in close touch with who God says we are, as His children. We are the Light of the World, as Jesus says in His Sermon on the Mount.
14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; Christ wants to use us to shine His glory and truth to a world stumbling in the dark.  When you are blind, you don’t even know what dark is. That’s how much our world need to see Jesus, the Light that shines into the heart. We are His city on a Hill.

15 nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Our family is where we shine the light brightest, or where it is the dimmest lit.  Our family sees our flaws, failures, the good and the bad; they see it all. It is when the 3 words, “I am sorry,” and “Please forgive me,” and ”I love you,” should be echoing in the halls. We are His lampstand.

16 Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.  Being the light of Christ is not just our Identity, it is our call, our responsibility.  It is our joy and delight.  People need to see Him, so let His light shine, first in you, then through you, and always in such a way that God gets the glory and not ourselves.

Be the Light of the Word, that you already are, in Him.

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Just A’passin’ Thru

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by: Carole L. Haines

I so love some of the old hymns. As I was preparing to write this morning, these words from an old hymn came to my mind.

This world is not my home, I’m just a’passin’ through,
My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue
The angels beckon me from Heaven’s open door
and I just can’t feel at home in this world anymore.

The Apostle Paul expresses this notion just a bit differently:

For we know that if the earthly tent which is our house is torn down, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For indeed in this house we groan, longing to be clothed with our dwelling from heaven, inasmuch as we, having put it on, will not be found naked. For indeed while we are in this tent, we groan, being burdened, because we do not want to be unclothed but to be clothed, so that what is mortal will be swallowed up by life. Now He who prepared us for this very purpose is God, who gave to us the Spirit as a pledge.
(2 Corinthians 5:1-5)

I remember sitting out at the picnic table, under the old Walnut tree that was planted there, in memory of one of our fallen President’s.  We discovered the History of the tree in our yard when two wonderful elderly women dropped by, while in our area, and asked if they could come in and see the old house they grew up in.  We learned so much of the rich history of our old place when we listened to their stories.
But this morning, as I sat under our tree, I was grieving and struggling and crying out to God about my diagnosis of anxiety disorder.  I was asking Him to take it away, and to just let me be like everybody else.  I happened to be in the above passage of Scripture and sensed the Lord whisper to my heart.

“Can you just allow the groanings to remind you that this is not your real home.  You groan because you are already homesick, and when your work is done here, I will bring you home.  When You are with me, the mortal will finally be swallowed up by life, and there will be no more tears, no more sorrow, no more pain, and no more anxiety. Just rest in Me, and trust my purposes.”

Now that’s a summation of His message to me, it’s been too long to remember His actual words, but the message is clear.  We are all going to feel homesick for Heaven sometimes. It’s a natural part of being His Child now.  We are just a’passin’ through.  But while we do, when the groanings come, and the aches and pains of the world are weighing heavily upon us; let us remember that when we are Home, finally Home with Jesus, the mortal will all be swallowed up by His life.

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More of Heaven on Earth

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by: Carole L. Haines

One of the things that was prayed during our Prayer time at Church this Sunday was “On earth as it is in Heaven.” My heart has been aching for home lately, wanting to be with Jesus. As I reached out to Him during this prayer time, I yearned for heaven saying, “Lord, You know where my heart lies, I want to be with You.” But what I sensed Him speak back to my heart was, “How about if I bring more heaven to earth for you. It’s not time for you yet, to come to Me here. I will bring Heaven to earth for you. There is still work for you to do on earth.”

I was so blessed that God would care enough for my desire to be with Him to speak to my heart, as He often does.  His kindness, mercy and love are so amazing.  Some of the ways He brings more heaven on Earth are good, strong and reliable relationships with other believers. Fellowship that is pure and beautiful, is one of God’s greatest gifts to us.  We had a discussion this past week about Purity in a small group I attend, and I remembered the Beatitudes.

Matthew 5 (NASB)

When Jesus saw the crowds, He went up on the mountain; and after He sat down, His disciples came to Him. He opened His mouth and began to teach them, saying,

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

“Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth.

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.

10 “Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Truly, Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.  Being transparent with God is one of our greatest ways to maintain purity and when we maintain purity, we see God more. So Precious ones, let’s bring more of Heaven to earth today by being pure and transparent with each other. None of us is perfect, all of us are flawed. Forgiveness, letting go of past hurts and moving on in Christ is one of our privileges as believers.
More of Heaven on Earth, yes Lord, let me be one of those whom You use to bless others in this way. Amen!

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The WHO and not the HOW

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By: Carole L. Haines

A Precious woman was recently sharing her difficulties and kept saying,
“I just don’t know how to do this? What steps do I take? I don’t know how to walk through this?”
As we began to pray for her as a group, God gave me a beautiful thing to pray over her. Here is what He gave me for her:

“Lord, I see this precious one is asking, How? But You are the lifter of her head.  I pray she will gently feel your Hand upon her face, lifting her head to gaze into Your eyes.  Fixing her eyes on You, Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of her faith. Guide her to stop asking How? And focus on the WHO. You, Lord, only You. Help her to focus on You. This is one of those times when we see only one set of footprints in the sand, and those footprints are Yours, not hers. You are not asking her to walk through this. You are carrying her through it.  Help her to relax in Your arms as You carry her through these waters. Help her to stop struggling, to cease striving and know, just KNOW that You are God. You will be exalted in the Heavens and exalted in the Earth. You will be exalted in this situation that is so overwhelming for her right now.  We Praise You, O God, the lifter of our heads, the Lover of our souls, King of Kings and Lord of Lords, we praise You before we see the breakthrough for this dear one.” AMEN.

How many times have I focused on the How instead of the Who? Times beyond number.  How about You today? Do you need to shift your gaze from the problem in front of you, to the Face of Christ, who loves you. Our society has diminished the meaning of he word LOVE. We love chocolate and football; the beach and mountains. We love so many things, but God’s love is demonstrative.

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. 11 And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation. (Romans 5:8-11 NASB)
Focus today on Him and His love every time your heart wanders to the “How?” In your life.  Be Blessed, for You are truly blessed in Him.

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For God Only

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By: Carole L. Haines

My soul waits in silence for God only; From Him is my salvation.
He only is my rock and my salvation,
My stronghold; I shall not be greatly shaken.
(Psalm 62:1-2 NASB)

Do I wait in silence for God only? Or am I still seeking the approval of people? Good Questions. Paul asked Himself the very same things.

10 For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men?
If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ.

(Galatians 1:10)

Am I a bond-servant of Christ? Or am I a servant of myself, hiding beneath the Robe of Christ? Honestly, I am both. I am fully His servant, but He is showing me places where I still have not fully come under His Lordship. It is in those places that I find I am still trying to please people. Is that true of you as well?

11 For I would have you know, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. 12 For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ. (Galatians 1:11-12)

I am learning, as Paul said He learned, to only live by what he receives from God. In our marriage vows we say, “and forsaking all others.” Have I forsaken all others in regards to God?  Am I still trying to get people to say that I am okay, or normal, or whatever?

God has been showing me that as long as I want to hear the affirmations of people, I will be enslaved to the tyranny of the approval of man. God has already set me completely free from the opinions of others, but have I chosen to walk in that freedom? Or am I still enslaved to what others think, or even enslaved to what I think of myself? Romans 8 says:

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death…31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? 33 Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; 34 who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. 35 Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?… 37 But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (vs, 1-2,31-35,36-39 NASB)

Am I really convinced that nothing can separate me from God’s love? If I was, I wouldn’t seek it from others so often. I would truly be able to say that My Soul waits in silence for God only.

Precious Father, Your word says that we have come to know and have believed the love that You have for us. I am not fully there Lord. It seems to be more of a yielding to what is already true about You and about me.  Therefore, I yield all I am to You, every crack, crevice and crag. I want you to fill me, My precious All in all, for me to decrease and for you to increase in me until all I am is consumed in all You are. Amen!

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