Confession and Repentance: Out of Darkness

by Mary Beth on November 8, 2018

IMG_3181

 “In our human nature, we’re masters of self-deceit.” R. C. Sproul

It is not natural for us as human beings to be open with our struggles and sufferings.
We have an innate propensity to hide.

A healthy and mature gospel community,

walks in open, godly confession and repentance.

Such attitudes and acts continue throughout our lives as Christians.

We have the charge and honor to bear each other’s burdens in the darkest of times.

~Confession and repentance are never out of season.

In struggling with sin,

an invisible veil of confusion can cover our hearts and minds.

But through faith and persistence,

our hearts can break through barriers of shame to the beginning stages

of confession and repentance, towards healing and restoration.

We are all in need of the Spirit’s provision to renounce individual sin.

~Confession is a grace aided by guidance.

Genuine repentance involves a godly sorrow for specific and general sins.

In Rosaria Butterfield’s successful book, The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert,

she communicates a powerful and bold witness to the Spirit’s fruit from her unbelieving heart and lifestyle of sexual sin.

From a prominent professor teaching a secular worldview-

to a believer growing in Christ, Butterfield articulates the process of the

“hard edges and dark valleys” in her painful confessions and changed lifestyle.

The process of freedom she “experienced in coming face-to-face with the living God”

led her to say, “How our lives bear the fruit of Christ’s spilled blood is important.” 

Wow, I absolutely love this statement!

Rosaria’s honesty and vulnerability in this area will challenge all Christ followers to such ruthless trust in God.

In a self-centered society of worldly priorities and shallow success,

it is refreshing to see a sincere confession accompanied by godly sorrow and genuine repentance.

~Repentance, like faith, is beyond an intellectual understanding.

We need the holy Scriptures to show us sin is wrong,

as well our need to God’s direction and guidance.

 
“For the Word of God is living and active, sharper than any two edged sword,
piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and of marrow,
and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. ~Hebrews 4

We turn to Christ for salvation from our sin, yet we also turn from our sin.

The gospel of grace helps us do this.

In our repenting, we must ask ourselves if we are making a genuine commitment to forsake sin.

To be open with our struggles and suffering, is a call to come out of the darkness.
Out of hiding and into the light.
“…God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.  If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.  But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with ne another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.  If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”   1 John 1:5-9 & John 1:9-11 

{ 0 comments }

Hospitality Around the World in Mfangano Island

by Mary Beth on July 11, 2018

To reflect on hospitality around the world,

what comes to mind is how the Word of God is celebrated among the Nations.

The Suba people reside on Mfangano Island, Africa.

Only six years ago, 2013, they received the New Testament in their own heart language!

We will always remember our sisters and brothers living on Mfangano Island,

as one of the first Seed Company translation projects.

It took longer than expected and cost more more than anticipated,

yet the results are nothing short of a God thing!

Our photo below with Nahptali Mattah, myself and my husband Scott,

as we celebrated our partnership in the Word of God for the Nations.

We met with Nahptali Mattah, former head of the Suba project to celebrate,

 “Gethsemane Gardens”, 

the orphanage he and his wife started for the, “least of the least.”

The orphanage cares for young children who have been abandoned,

abused or encountered AIDS, and left behind.

A historical victory for this Island,

that sings praise to God for His healing hand holistically through the Word of God,

to the Suba families and throughout their wide-ranging culture and village communities.

God’s Word has spread throughout the entire Island!

IMG_4660

Next to the orphanage they built a museum,

to honor the history of God’s hand in transformation in and throughout the Suba people,

and further to other tribes on Mfangano Island.

Within the museum, their story is vividly expressed from the first pioneers,

the arrival of the Word of God through their people, and

how this transformation led to the transformation

 of their hand-crafted boats throughout each village.

The Suba people previously believed the boats carried evil spirits,

until the power of God’s Word and the Spirit of God

powerfully changed their hearts and tribal communities.

IMG_3068

The Suba people had the boats not only repainted but reprinted,

BTL:  Bible Transition Literacy on each side of the boat.

Now they believe each hand-crafted boat carries the Spirit of God,

to additional tribes on the Island in need of hearing the Word of God in their own heart language!

How is it possible to show hospitality around the world?

What better way than through the Word of God that powerfully divides every area of our hearts, homes, and communities?

Consider supporting Bible translation projects,

as they aim to reach difficult remote areas around the world, like Mfangano Island.

“His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness,

through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence.” 2 Peter 1:3

 

 

May this young girl mature to be all that God created her to be in life,

through the Holy Spirit and the Word of God.

May she hide God’s Word in her heart.

Our God of all hope can do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine according to His power that is at work in us for His glory!

{ 0 comments }

Life Under His Wings

by Mary Beth on June 5, 2018

I yearn for times of quiet reflection in nature.

It’s likely due to my early childhood memories in Pure Michigan;

of restful, lazy summer days at the lake and always adventure in the country.

*

Yet the more I learn and understand our Creator God, the more I see His perfect revelation

in every promise, purpose, and plan He has gracious given us in life.

*

My brothers and I have fond memories racing motor bikes;

 a stopwatch determined the winner of the race through the thick woods near our home.

While early morning hours faded into dusk,

I also enjoyed years of hunting excursions with my father,

especially for partridge or quail from our wooden canoe in the river.

Yet, our early morning ice fishing endeavors holds only a brief joy and worth of remembering!

I’m thankful for all sorts of enjoyment in nature,

for the ability to appreciate and rest in the quiet beauty of the outdoors.

Treasured stories laced our annual summer camping trips

in the wild Canadian country, and cherished memories in our quaint cottage on the lake.

Of course we also dreaded hot hours of simply pulling weeds,

or eating organic veggies from our gigantic home garden.

If only we had the ability to pull sinful weeds out of our family scruples,

to protect our families from unwanted weeds which spread over the entire garden.

 Is this not a noble desire to avoid,

choking out the harvest and many fruits of our labors?

In the garden of Eden,

God graciously provided abounding goodness, order, and rhythm.

Yet Eden introduced

weeds deeply tainting our stories throughout humanity.

We all hold unique memories from our childhood, and unusual memories of significant struggles within our upbringing.
Truly, there's a time for everything under the sun; a time to hold and a time to let go.

Each year on Father’s Day, many souls struggle

with a healthy tension between discerning how to honor our earthly fathers,

and at the same time we perhaps wrestle with a righteous indignation.

Possibly angst towards merely an image of strength from our fathers;

a bold void of godliness, integrity, or holiness.

Father’s Day holiday can be a reminder that we

don’t simply grieve on Father’s Day, but everyday.

We struggle and grieve with a mixed bag of memories, absence, and deep loss

weaved into the fabric of our being.

All true, however, we don’t grieve without hope.

*

In a book that was meant to be prayed, most likely penned by a prophet named Jeremiah,

Lamentations invites us to worship and lament.

“But this I call to mind and therefore I have hope:
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they
are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” Lam. 3:21-23

By God’s grace I’ve learned not only to forgive my father for his endless weeds of narcissism,

but through Scripture, prayer and godly counsel,

I’ve learned to be gracious to him with the gospel and love of Christ.

*

Although I etched this poem in my journal moons ago,

I was hesitant and lingered with it far too long, I confess.

In trusted sincerity and sanctification, my aim and motive is not one of resentment or bitterness

but a vulnerable and humble offer to others in suffering.

May you hear and come to know as I, God’s heart is tender and faithful to the fatherless.

*

We cannot bear the weight of sin which so easily entangles our lives,

or the weight of suffering loss from a dearly loved father.

How grateful I am to our amazing, eternal Heavenly Father.

For God graciously invites, provides and sustains our relationship with Him.

God is with us in our scruples to see, hear and move on behalf of His children;

He specifically yearns and moves towards the fatherless.

This belief will change our struggle and how we grieve.

We don’t have to grieve without hope. 

We can turn and rest our hope in the ever-lasting arms of our Heavenly Father;

our faithful Creator of the heavens and the earth, and the stability of our times.

*

Under His Wings

It is your absence

In the past we forgive.

Enormous losses

Surfaced and grieved.

 

Each resurrected day strength

Questions how you live.

Choosing love to withhold,

Once mercy has unfolded?

 

A lack of capacity; of skill?

Pride blinds and binds the free will.

Any heart alive leaps to give.

Is it not by conscience we live?

 

Life that you craved was

The treasures of Life He gave.

You fought the Old Cross;

Serious dilemma when you’re the boss.

 

Ironic passion saving ships at sea,

Responding with skills to hazardous pleas.

However, our silent confusion will not escape,

Why our claims lay drowning like red tape.

 

Performance cannot cover shame,

Neither satisfy loves jealous hunger.

To save the world and lose your own soul?

Life has hunted you as game.

  

I’ve known two fathers “saving:”

One born from natural earth, self-willed of wood and clay;

Another a suffering Servant from Eternity; The Truth, Life and Way.

Eternal willing to suffer; natural unwilling to obey.

  

Our free will of independence

Will counteract, “Who do you say I am?”

We’ll stand alone by this evidence,

Witnesses have since Abraham.

 

Your image of strength

Only shouts with fears.

Admit your human,

It’s loud and clear.

  

Contempt, a small matter

Compared to our soul, a great loss.

Such disdain paid for

Through the powerful cross.

 

Yet silence continues to be your path.

It’s blunt to observe the aftermath.

Such vast wounds of absence, yet-

Hovering over is our Abba Almighty, who’s more immense.

 

He is our Hope, everlasting Father and Refuge.

Tenderly holds our entire deluge.

By His mercy chosen to experience,

Life under His wings; His defense. ~mba

 

“See what kind of love the Father has given to us,
that we should be called children of God; and so we are.”
1 John 3:1

*

If you find yourself struggling with a sense of belonging

from an absent earthly Father,

remember our great Heavenly Father is not like man.

He will never leave or forsake us. Heb. 13:5

{ 0 comments }