Walk of Shame

Before I begin this post I want to preface it by saying that I’m not a parent. I have no experience or know what it is like to be a parent. I believe that being a parent is one of, if not the hardest, jobs anyone could have. Being a parent is an immensely great responsibility.

With that said, recently there has been an epidemic going around of parents publicly shaming their children on various social media outlets. Thousands of videos on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube have received millions upon millions of views of parents making an example of their children. From shaving their child’s head, to public humiliation, to verbally embarrassing them these are only a few methods these parents have taken to discipline their children.

Now don’t get me wrong I believe in disciplining your children in order to teach them a lesson when they do something wrong, and believe me my parents disciplined me, but I believe this is a private matter between you and your children not a public display for the world to see. Public shaming is not parenting it’s bullying. What kind of message are you trying to teach your children by condemning them for all the world to see? What sort of lesson are they learning from publicly standing in their shame?

Like I said I’m not a parent, but I have been a son to two amazing earthly parents and one gracious heavenly Father for about 32 years now. My parents never embarrassed me intentionally in public. They might have embarrassed me a few times unintentionally by hugging and kissing me in front of my friends, but I think all parents have their moments. When they disciplined me they did it in private behind closed doors so that I was taught a lesson of love for me and not given a message for shame of me.

Paul the apostle, who was publicly shamed and did some shameful things in his life he wasn’t proud of, penned these words “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1) Jesus took our walk of shame for us, when He carried the cross, so that we wouldn’t have to live in shame. Jesus was publicly humiliated so we wouldn’t have to be. There is no shame in the name of Jesus.

I believe some of you reading this are walking in a life of shame. Maybe it’s because of something someone did to you. Maybe it was a parent. Maybe it was a friend. Maybe it’s because of something you have done. Don’t let your past imprison the potential of your future. Don’t allow your history to destroy your destiny.

You have a heavenly Father who loves you and wants the best for you. His approval of you is not based upon what has been done to you or what you have done, but is solely based upon who you are. You are a child of the King. You are blessed and highly favored. You are the head and not the tail. You are above and not beneath. When you realize those two things, who you are and whose you are, you no longer walk in the shame of defeat but you sit in the seat of victory.

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Touch

Out of all our senses the sense of touch has some interesting facts. Touch is the first sense that is developed in a newborn. Touch can reduce the heart rate and lower blood pressure. Touch stimulates the release of endorphins, the body’s natural pain killers, which is why a simple hug can alleviate a person’s pain. Touch, unlike the other five senses, is not restricted to any particular part of the body. Touch is extraordinarily important in the development of both cognitive function and a healthy body. Touch is perhaps the most overlooked sense but is probably the most important.

This is why in the creation process, when it came down to creating the human race, God didn’t speak mankind into existence, like the rest of the things He created, He had to reach out and touch. Genesis 2:7 says “then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.” When it came down to it, words weren’t enough, God had to put his hands on man and put his finishing touches on all of His creation. 

As I wrap up this post, there are a couple things to take from God’s example back at the beginning of time. 

1) When it comes to relationships, words are not enough. 

The saying goes “You can talk the talk but can you walk the walk.” In other words talk is cheap. I can tell my wife I love her till I’m blue in the face, but if my actions don’t reflect what I say, my words are to no avail. My words mean nothing if they are not backed up by the things I do. James, the brother of Jesus, wrote that faith without works is dead. In laymans terms, you have to put your money where your mouth is. In relationships, whether in marriage or friendship, words fade away but a single touch lasts a lifetime.

2) Life is not meaningless.

When it came down to creating mankind, God had to put his own masterful touch on us. How He created everything else wasn’t good enough for us. The creator of the universe touched the dirt, formed us out of it, and breathed Himself into us. I know some of you reading this think that your life lacks meaning, but when you realize the vast intricate detail that God took in creating the human race, your eyes will be opened to a life full of purpose. You will realize what the psalmist exclaims that you are fearfully and wonderfully made. You will realize that you are created on purpose for a purpose with a purpose. You will see that the meaning behind God creating mankind differently from the entire rest of creation was to show that your life is full of meaning. So no longer hang your head in shame but raise it high. No longer walk slouched over but strut with your chest up tall. You are a child of the King. The God of all creation put His personal touch on you. God’s handiwork is not all around you but all over you. It’s time for you to stop listening to what people say about you and begin seeing who God’s touch meant for you to be.

I’m Already There

Have you ever come across one of those moments in your life where you had to make an extremely big decision? Now I’m not talking about the last time you decided what clothes to wear or where to go eat. I’m talking about a very important decision. I’m talking about a decision where you needed solid conformation from God that you were making the right choice.

Well I remember mine because it happened recently, like two days ago recently. Now my wife and I had been talking for a while now on getting her a new vehicle. The car that she was currently driving was the first and only car she has ever had. She had had this car since she started driving. It was a very good car. It had lasted a very long time but it had been on it’s last legs for while. So much so that my wife was nervous every time she drove it, I was worried every time I got in it, and both of us weren’t sure how much longer she was going to last. (Yes I called it she cause my wife had named her car Sally, Sal for short, that just shows how long she had had her car for. It was very tough for my wife to let her car go. Until she got in the new car, of course, then Sal was a distant memory. But I digress.)

The problem we had though, and this is what made it such a big decision, is at the time we were not in a good financial situation to take on another loan. In fact we had just recently paid off the loan for my truck and we both weren’t comfortable with jumping right back into another car payment. So I needed some pretty convincing conformation this was the right choice to make. I needed to know beyond the shadow of a doubt that this was the right thing to do. I’m going to be really honest with you, at this point, I was pretty scared. Cause I knew my wife needed a safe and reliable vehicle but I knew we couldn’t really afford one and I didn’t know what we were supposed to do.

So the night before we were going to go to the dealership to purchase a new vehicle, I asked God to confirm to me this was the choice we were suppose to make. And right after I asked that, it was almost like I heard God say “Son, I’m already there.” Now as soon as I heard that something in my spirit brought me to the Lonestar song “I’m Already There.” You know the one where the dad is traveling on the road and he stops to call back home. The wife hands the phone to his son and the son asks when his dad is coming home. The dad responds to the son to take a look around and realize that his dad is already there he just has to open his eyes to see that his dad is in everything around him. That was what God was trying to say to me. I was the little boy and he was the dad. He was saying “Look around, son, I’m already there.”

I realized on that day when we went to get the new vehicle for my wife, as I stepped back and took a look around, I could see God’s handy work in everything, even down to the little things like someone else buying our drinks for us at Starbucks. God revealed to me a side of him I had never seen before. This whole time I thought God was up there somewhere in the cosmos waiting for me to ask Him to move on my behalf. I thought that as soon as I asked God to do something, He jumped up from His throne and reported for duty like a soldier going off to war. I thought maybe I caught Him off guard, surprised Him, or maybe even shocked Him. But that isn’t the case. I realized that the reason Romans 8:28 says that God works everything (the good, the bad, and the ugly) out for my good is because He’s already there. In other words God is not waiting on me to ask Him to do something so He can get up and do it, He is waiting for me to realize that it has already been done. He isn’t waiting for me to ask Him something so that He has something to do, He is waiting for me to open up my eyes and see His handy work all around me.

So the next time you come across a major decision to be made, hear the Father say to you “Son, I’m already there.” When you are scared that you’re not going to make the right choice, hear God say “Daughter, I’m already there.” Then open up your eyes in order to see Him all around you and walk through what He has already done.

Call It Like It Is

More likely than not you’ve probably heard someone say in a conversation “I just call it like it is.” It’s only natural as humans to look at our situation and refer to it like we see it. We automatically assume the worst in everything we come across in our lives. It’s like carved into our DNA. The boss calls us into a meeting. We immediately think we did something wrong or we are going to get fired. Our wife says those four scariest words known to man kind “We need to talk.” (Husbands everywhere reading this just cringed)

Why is it like that? Why do we see the glass as half empty? Because of this it’s hard for us to fathom the words written in Romans “who gives life to the dead and calls those things which are not as though they were.” (See Romans 4:17) In other words don’t call it as it is, call it what it should be. Anyone can call it like it is, but it takes real faith to look past what it is and call it what it could be.

In the beginning when God was done creating everything, He brought the animals to Adam to see what man would call them. Whatever Adam called the animals that’s what it was. You see God creates situations in our lives to see what we will call them. You can either choose to call them as you see it or you can look at them through the lens of faith and call them as God sees them.

God doesn’t see the mistakes we made, He sees the price Jesus paid. God doesn’t see our mess, He sees a message to be proclaimed. God doesn’t see a blood stained cross, He sees an empty tomb.

What would your life, what would my life, what would our lives be like if we quit calling it like it is and started seeing it for what it could be? 

Dancing in the Storm

There is a famous inspirational quote by Vivian Greene that says “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass…It’s about learning to dance in the rain.” This phrase has been painted on houses’ walls. It has been quoted in various books. It has been used in many speeches. It has been put on postcards and it has been placed on pictures. But what does this saying actually mean. Cause it’s very easy to say this phrase and it’s very easy to be motivated by this quote, but it’s another thing to live it out. Don’t get me wrong this quote is very awe inspiring but when the storm comes you’re going to need a heck of a lot more than an inspirational saying to get you through.

If we were honest with each other, I think we would all admit that the last thing any of us want to do when we are in the middle of a storm in our lives is to dance. It’s only human nature when we see those storm clouds rolling in to want to curl up in the fetal position. So how do we get the motivation to dance through our storm instead of the storm devastating our lives? Here are a few things that help me dance when I would otherwise stumble and fall.

1) The storm will not last forever.
My dad would always tell me whenever I was experiencing a rough patch in life “Son, this too will pass.” In other words, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Every storm in life always came to an end. No storm lasts forever. The Apostle Paul said it like this in his letter to the people in Rome “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. (Romans 8:18 NIV) In other words, the storm that you’re currently in pails in comparison to the sunshine that lies ahead.

2) You’re going to make it through.
Jesus promises us that we will make it to the other side. The hard part about grasping this promise is that He doesn’t explain to us how we are going to get to the other side, He doesn’t tells us when we are going to get to the other side, and He doesn’t promise that we won’t experience some turbulence along the way. But what Jesus does promise us makes all the difference in the world. I don’t know about you, but if I know that I’m going to make it through the storm before the storm even comes, it’s a whole lot easier to dance in the rain. If I know that no matter what I’m going to make it to the other side, it doesn’t make a difference who or what stands in my way, I can have confidence to push through. When you already know the end result, it’s hard not to dance your way through the storm.

3) You’re not alone.
We might not have been promised that we will never come across a storm in our lives, but we are promised that we will never have to go through it alone. Jesus promised that He will never leave us and that He will be with us always. (See Deuteronomy 31:8 and Matthew 28:20) We don’t have to face the storm alone. Even when we fall, Jesus will pick us back up. He will be right with us every step of the way. He will even carry us if we can no longer stand on our own.

When you know the storm is only temporary, you’re going to make it to the other side, and you’re not in this alone; it’s hard not to dance in the rain. My feet are getting excited right now writing this post and I think yours are too reading this. I hope this post not only encourages you, but I pray that it compels you to dance through your storm.

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