Ever felt condemned for what you have done a bit afraid to go to church because of what people are going to say?
I visited a church for the first time and heard the pastor bemoaning the fact that someone very prominent in the church had died because she had an abortion that did not go well. She was afraid to face the church for fear of condemnation because she was pregnant. The pastor was so sorrowful and never wanted to see that happen again God does not condemn us when we do wrong. It is the devil that accuses us. Whatever situation you find yourself in, God will meet you with loving open arms like a Father.
I became a mother without being married.
I was scared of the reaction I would have from church people but I went to church anyway. One morning, about four weeks after the baby was born, I was running up the stairs to church when my leg began to ache. I entered the church and I saw a visiting pastor that day. He was calling people to the altar for prayers. He never saw me before so I knew that he had no idea how I was feeling. He called for anyone who came into the church with a pain in the leg to come to the altar.
I refused to respond. I saw this on TV all the time and I knew the script. He will pray and then ask if the pain is gone. I will be honest and say no and he will be embarrassed. Or so I thought, I did not want to go.
As I watched other people respond to his beckoning, I felt convicted that I should respond because I did have a pain in the leg and was limping the way he described. The next time he called I responded but by now everyone else had been blessed and gone back to their seat. I was alone at the altar. The pastor was asked me to walk to the back of the room and back to the altar. He did not ask if the pain was gone, instead he asked me to my hands in the air. Although I did not want to obey, I did. Then I could feel my lips shaking, my hands shaking and I heard clapping. Finally, I heard my own voice. I asked myself what was happening. Someone had put the mic to my mouth and totally unknown to me I was talking in tongues.
I felt so unworthy, speaking in tongues was not for someone in the state that I found myself. How could someone so unworthy, within 6 weeks of having a baby, unmarried, be filled with the Holy Ghost and speaking in tongues?
I was amazed at the love of God!
I know that God is Love. He truly loves us. We should run to Him and not away from Him when we are in trouble and feel lonely. Looking back I believe my obedience to respond to the altar call made a difference, my obedience to walk to the back of the church and to lift my hands were all a part of the response God wanted from me. I did not feel like doing these stupid things. God not only showed His love to me, he did it publicly before the church asking them to accept me.
If God made me speak in tongues before the Christians, who were they to deny me a place in church. Such an experience does not allow me to condemn anyone for what they have done. In whatever state you find yourself, I encourage you to go to God, be obedient to the simple things he asks you to do and find Him willing to love you like no one else can.
If only we could understand the length and breadth of God’s love, that Love that made Him send His son to die for use, we would go to Him despite or faults.
Points for Meditation
So many believe God's love is fickle: when they sin, He turns away in disgust and anger. They vacillate between "He loves me" and "He loves me not" because of their behavior. That reasoning, , is as flawed as pulling petals from a daisy. Rather God's love is sturdy, enduring, and undisturbed by people's failings because God loves humankind not for what they do--but who they are. They are God's beloved creation.
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That you will trust God. If you have made that decision before them maybe it is time to rededicate your life to Him. Allow him to fashion your life so that it blossoms into the fullness of his design and destiny for you. It starts as a decision and progresses as a day by day relationship built on trusting God, hearing his voice and obeying.
you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of
your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical
body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and
free from accusation— if you continue in your faith, established and
firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel. ......" Colossians 1:21-23 (NIV)
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A testimony is simply our personal story of God’s goodness in our life; an eye witness report of God's interaction with man. Simple as it is testimonies change hearts, lives and nations. As we declare what God has done for us others find the faith to believe, to be encouraged, and to stand strong.
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