How can truth set us free?

Ephesians 1:3-9 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance to his pleasure and will-to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ. More

Book Launch Invitation & two reader comments…

 

Made New Book Launch flyer

…I laughed, I cried, my heart and soul ached for all that you went through and I felt boundless joy reading about how your relationship with Christ has evolved and is continuing to grow daily. When you asked questions, you asked the hard questions that require soul searching for answers. Thank you for doing that as I don’t think we ask enough hard questions in this present age. Thank you so much for obeying God and telling your story. This book has the potential to help so many people who are hurting because of choices they have made. ~ Patty

I spent the weekend with you and your friend, Judy!! What a journey – what courage – what a faithful God to bring you to this place!! It has given me such insight into who you are and how God has brought you here – for such a time as this. I found myself in parts of your story – the me I had forgotten even existed. Your journey was a tough one, but look at the victory!! Amazing grace, no doubt about it. ~ Cathy

Made New ~ Excerpt of Foreward

A friend recently posed this question to me: “If you could go back to when you were sixteen years old and give yourself a word of advice, what would that be?”

Instead of blurting out what I knew was in my heart—fearful of causing an unwanted shock factor—I rambled on, explaining how rebellious and stubborn I had been at sixteen and how I should have listened to advice from my parents and those older than myself.

I pondered my friend’s question over the next several days and concluded that there was a compelling reason why I was so rebellious and stubborn. At the tender, yet naïve, age of sixteen, I had already endured four years of sexual abuse by a close family member, on an almost weekly basis. I was innocent, young, confused, afraid, and not sure where I could turn for help. Who would believe me? How would my family be affected if I revealed the secret? I felt guilty, dirty, and unloved.

If I were able to go back to sixteen, I now know I would fall on my knees, challenging myself to find another adult, somebody I could trust with the horrible secret hidden so deep within my being. If I could have found someone, anyone, to confide in, it may have saved me from another four years of tormented abuse.

Has someone ever deeply hurt you? Maybe you’ve also been abused physically, mentally, or sexually many years ago, or maybe recently? Perhaps a family member has mistreated you, or somebody you work with, and you can’t find within yourself the ability to forgive the person who was responsible for the mistreatment. You are positive that, regardless of the regret your abuser may or may not feel, and despite sincerest apologies and pleas for forgiveness, in your own strength you know it would be impossible to forgive them. I know what you’re feeling. I’ve been there and know firsthand that it’s not easy to forgive that type of abuse in your own strength.

Obviously, we live in a broken world where injustice is rampant in our society. But, despite this fact, where can we turn and in whom can we trust?

Being sexually abused by someone I was inherently taught to trust altered my view of a sovereign God who loved me enough to die for me.

* * * * *

I’ve had the privilege of meeting a few Christians who can proclaim that they know exactly when the Lord revealed his purpose for their life. Without a doubt, I’m completely aware of when he revealed his purpose for mine.

Over the past several years, I’ve felt an inward tug to share what the Lord has done and is still doing in my life with our hurting world. While I was going through difficult times, I wasn’t always conscious of how God was shaping my life. But as I look back, I can see his hand guiding me into what his desire is for me.

On October 30, 2011, my husband and I enjoyed the last morning of a whirlwind four-week trip through California, Oregon, and Washington. It was Sunday morning and we planned to visit a newly planted church where old friends were attending. But, for some unknown reason, that particular morning we felt more compelled to stay inside our cozy cottage, where we snuggled close together on the sofa and watched In Touch with Dr. Charles Stanley, the pastor of First Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia.

Dr. Stanley’s forty-minute message centered on the purpose of our lives being used for the glory of God. He ended his sermon with a question that radically changed my life. Though I don’t remember his exact words, I distinctly remember the point.

One day you will stand before the Lord your God. All-knowing God will look you eye to eye and heart to heart and ask, “What did you do with your life that has brought glory and honor to me?” He’ll continue, “What did you do with the spiritual gifts I so generously gave to you, my child? Who did you tell the Good News of the gospel, possibly leading another precious soul to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ?” How will you answer when he asks that all-important and soul-searching question?

Suddenly, as if I had been stunned out of a dispassionate spirit, I heard God’s voice, the words pounding deep in my heart, loud and clear. “Judy, have I not blessed you with a firsthand knowledge of my forgiveness, by my grace and mercy? I want you to tell others about the forgiveness I offer to each one of my children. It is I alone who can forgive your past, present, and future sins!”

I felt as if I’d been hit with a two-by-four. I immediately knew what my answer would be. A loud, reverberating voice inside me screamed out, “Write a book. Tell others about events of my life and how today I’m able to see that my Lord was with me along every step of my journey. Talk about how tragic and deep the pain of my past was. Include the answer to the essential question for someone who has been abused: ‘How could I possibly forgive another person, especially someone who abused me so deeply and continued abusing me for so long?’”

In the few years since then, I’ve discovered that I can truly trust what God’s Word promises to those who call him Savior; namely, that Jesus loves his children unconditionally. He knows we’re sinners in need of his mercy and grace, and without him, we’re completely lost.

Jesus relates a story in Matthew 19:26, following his encounter with the rich young ruler. Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible!”

Most of us have heard the poem “Footprints in the Sand” by Mary Stevenson. The poem recounts a conversation when a child of God asks something like this, “God, why is it that during the hardest and most difficult times of my life and during my most painful experiences there are only one set of footprints and not two?” God lovingly answered, “Because, that was when I carried you.”

Come back with me to the difficult years of my life as I recollect a tragic, heart-wrenching journey, as well as many celebratory moments, when I was becoming Made New.

 

 

Aside

Life in the Lord is part of His Tapestry

Recently, I finished reading Heaven, by famous Christian author Randy Alcorn. Along with the Bible, it made an extremely profound impact on my spiritual journey with the Lord. I became keenly aware that out of all God’s promises we can’t begin to fathom or have any idea of the eternal and unfailing love He has for us.

My eyes, and the doors of my heart opened to receive more of His promises and the glorious eternity He has prepared for us. It’s hard to begin, or comprehend, what life will be like when I step over into eternity.

One important fact that we need to focus on is that our lives are but a vapor, here today and gone tomorrow. I fully believe that there will come a day, when I’ll be able to look back on my life as the Lord lovingly guides me, allowing me to see how both tragedy and joyous events unfolded from an eternal perspective.

We should look forward to the end of our lives, praying daily, seeking God’s will. His desire is for us to serve Him, showing Christ’s love to a hurting world, in the process, continually mending broken relationships through forgiveness.

That takes faith! Yet, remember, Romans 8:28? ‘We know that all things work for the good to those who love the Lord, those who have been called according to his purpose.
Years ago, I read Why do bad things happen to good people?
I don’t recall the name of the author, but he had an intriguing way of describing events that occur throughout our lives.
To paraphrase, our lives are like part of a tapestry, we only see the threads closest to us, each thread woven in alongside and beside us, but God sees the full picture of a beautifully complete tapestry, every thread carefully placed, and sewn in, by our Creator.

Lord, Let my voice be Your Voice!

THE PRICE HE PAID FOR ALL OUR SIN, PAST, PRESENT, AND FUTURE

Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame. Psalm 34:5
Here I am Lord, Send Me!
Let my voice be Your Voice!
Pete and I moved to Woodstock, Georgia on June 1, 2012. After weeks of unpacking and getting settled into our new home we decided ‘ok, it’s time to spend some time on our new deck and begin enjoying this wonderful piece of heaven the Lord has blessed us with’.
I don’t know about you but when we move to a new home Pete and I always look forward to spending quiet time with each other, and with the Lord, especially after weeks of stress that comes with change of address notifications, scheduling garbage pickups, hanging pictures, organizing closets, new driver’s licenses and tags, etc.
When we moved from our home in Anderson, South Carolina it was hard to imagine being blessed by another wonderful outdoor environment. We had so much enjoyment out of the beautiful yard we were leaving. We had our favorite trees, seasons, and even favorite flowers and bushes! We discussed what our next home would be like and prayed that God would lead us to a place where we would enjoy many hours of intimacy with Him in a deeper and more profound way.
So, one day in mid-July, we decided it’s time to start enjoying this new place. The first person we encountered was a woman, who was quite amusing by the way, probably mid-60’s, carrying a walking stick so she would be able to fight off any ferocious animal that crossed her path. She was wearing a rather large brimmed straw hat, white sweater with blue stripes, fuschia pink shorts, and a pair of walking boots. After a few seconds she soon disappeared on up the street.
A hummingbird landed on a dead branch just above us as if to say, “Hmm, this is a sight. I’ve never seen them here before”.
We like to call this ‘sitting on the porch growing old together’ and one of God’s many blessings in growing and forming more intimate relationships.
Of the hundreds of trees near our home, just across the cul-de-sac is a majestic Georgia pine tree with the straightest and widest trunk I believe I’ve ever seen. It seems as if it’s standing guard over the home behind it. It has a huge crown that is so prideful as it reaches halfway down the entire length. It seems as if it’s standing guard and protecting the home. As if to say, “You have to come past me to get into this home”.
Then, over in the side of our yard is another pine tree that looks as if it’s had a hard life and barely hanging on to the ground with its shallow roots. You know, like a Charlie Brown tree. It’s weak, leaning over, several broken off branches toward the middle and just a few pine needles left on the branches up toward the top. It looks as if it just wants to give up. If you want to refer to it in the secular way you would say that the ‘forces of nature’ are taking it down.
So, which one of these trees describe you? Are you like the straight tree? The one that stands mighty and reaches straight up toward God for direction, or are you like the tree that’s had a rough road being pulled in various directions or down the wrong roads through out your life?
Our spiritual reality is one that is we’re all in as a worse state than the crooked tree, on this side of Heaven. But, because of Jesus’ shed blood for each of us, we are able to stand straight, trusting Him to guide our path and carry us through life, until we meet him face to face in glory. In Jesus, our intercessor, we are able to accomplish this.
Jesus is the MIGHTY and STRAIGHT tree! He is our defender and protector. In Him we must trust to guide us through this life.
This is the way we should live our lives. God is Number One when we look at what eternity means. Ultimately, every thing in our lives and on the Earth that He created points back to God. It’s being ‘eternal-minded’. That’s a deep thought. But, he wants us to see him in this way. Does God mean this much to you? That’s when you know in your heart that you’re his, even in all of your sinfulness.
In Romans 7:25, the Apostle Paul cries out “What a wretched man that I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?”
But, we have a promise that is so profound that we need to claim it as children belonging to the Lord, v. 26, “Thanks be to God-through Jesus Christ our Lord!” He is the ONLY one who can deliver us out of the pit of bondage to sin.

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