Until Christ Be Formed in You
8/14/2015 12:00:01 AM by: Charlotte S. Snead

For those God foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.  Romans 8:29, NIV

“Thunk. Thunk.”  The dull blows of the axe made little impact on the four by fours holding the sign we so proudly erected several years ago.  Now it mocked me: Center for Pregnancy Care. I had to get rid of it. I was humiliated, broken, defeated. My daughter, a twenty-two year old graduate student, told me yesterday she was pregnant.

“I brought her up in the way she should go, Lord. I dedicated her to you, prayed for a Godly husband, and taught her that sex is a sacred act between a man and wife.” I swiped sweat and tears from my face. “Don’t you care, God?  What about your name? This is your reputation at stake here.” Finally pushing the sign over, I let it lay on the grassy front yard.

I trudged upstairs and threw myself on my bed in a fit of weeping.  My beautiful daughter and her Godly goal of ministry. I have taught this stuff to others. I am a certified abstinence educator.  If I could hear God laugh, I did, and this was no laughing matter! But He who sits in the heavens laughs. He who knows the end from the beginning has the last laugh.

Papa God gathered me in his arms and assured me he wasn’t worried about his reputation, and I didn’t need to be either.  What he is about is our perfection: shaping us, molding us, crushing down the clay once again and putting us back on the wheel.  The Potter is far more interested in our perfection, in creating a vessel fitted for his purposes, than in his own good name.

Perhaps when we are worried about God’s reputation, in truth, we are more worried about our own. God will burn our pride in the fires of His holiness.

It is hard to look into our deceitfully wicked hearts and realize God chastens those whom he loves.

What don’t you understand about your trials?  What unfair, incomprehensible challenges confront you today?  He has a plan and a purpose for you and your children, and He isn’t in any hurry. He won’t whisk you through the challenges of life, but He will walk by your side as your comforter and your guide.

Precious Holy Spirit, though I don’t understand the road before me I will allow your word to be a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.  You intend good for me and those I love. Do your work in us to make us fit for service. Help us to trust you, for you are faithful, even when we are not.  Thank you, Father. Amen

And with that He breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of anyone, their sins are forgiven . . . .”   John 20:22-23b  NIV

The crack of that slap resounded in the tiny kitchen, and five pairs of horrified eyes accused me.  I could see my fiery fingerprints on my beloved son’s face.  Even as a heathen, I knew better than to strike a child on the face, and those shocked blue eyes, the lamps of his soul, plunged me into the darkness of shame and grief before he darted away.  Silently, his older brother picked up the garbage bag, the bone of our contention, and walked outside.

Chaos reigned in this tiny rental house where we temporarily housed our family of seven while looking for something permanent.  Trying to pack lunches for five children before piling them in the van to transport them to Christian school, I was stuffing the brown bags and reminding our middle son to take out the trash when someone turned on the water, drenching the bags, and he loudly protested it wasn’t his turn. Something snapped, and it was me.

I saw movement behind the drapes in the living room.  It was the boy who so wanted to be found. I pulled him into my arms, set aside the day’s reading, and turned to Colossians 3, Paul’s exhortation to forgive one another even as Christ has forgiven us.  I dropped to my knees and begged his forgiveness. As we drove, my tears continued to fall, and my third grader asked:  “Mommy, does the Blood still work today?” When I nodded yes, he replied: “Then you should be glad, not sad.”

The little child whom I had offended was God’s instrument of forgiveness. The Kingdome belongs to these.

When we have offended others and grieved God, we carry the weight of our sin as a load.  God calls us to cast our cares upon Him who cares for us. If you have confessed your sin to God and the one you offended has forgiven you, receive the remission of your sins.

Lord, I bring nothing, but I cling to you and receive forgiveness and the pardoning of my sin.

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