Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Who Are You?

Hey there and Happy Tuesday Beautiful Friends! Today I have a devotion running on the Proverbs 31 website. It's called, "Once...Always." (http://proverbs31devotions.blogspot.com/2009/06/once-always.html ) Let me tell you the crazy way that this devo came to be.

I was watching CMT (Country Music Television) one morning. A video by Kellie Pickler came on. One of the lines in the song was "I've been told that a cheater is always a cheater..." Well, I know it's just a song, a country song at that...I mean many country songs have a good cheatin' story, but I couldn't get that line out of my head. Especially how it doesn't have to be true. Christ can change all that! It made me think of the times I labeled myself and those names stuck in my head. And of the times that someone else called me something and I kept repeating it in my head. Even long after the sin occurred and I had supposedly moved on, I still would hear those names. "Pathetic" "The Worst" "Not Good Enough" Sometimes the people in my life still thought of me that way. And I may never be able to change that. I've learned to be concerned with what God thinks of me. I am defined by Jesus Christ, not by what I did in the past or what others think of me.

Look at these awesome verses:

***2 Corinthians 5:17,“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ; he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (NIV)

Do you believe this verse? I hope so. The old is gone. Praise God! The new has come. Praise God again! Maybe at times I have been "pathetic" and "the worst", but guess what? I am a new creation in Christ Jesus. I am washed clean. Psalm 32:1-5 frees me from anything I've ever done. I am what I am in Jesus.

***Psalm 86:5, "You willingly forgive, and your love is always there for those who pray to you.” (CEV)

Yes, no matter what it is we've done, God forgives. And look at this verse. He "willingly forgives" and His "love is always there." Doesn't that make you feel great?

***Isaiah 43:18-19, “Forget what happened long ago! Don't think about the past. I am creating something new. There it is! Do you see it? I have put roads in deserts, streams in thirsty lands.” (CEV)

We are told here to "forget what happened long ago!" Have you forgotten? Do you still define yourself based on something in your past? Oh, let that go today! God doesn't want you living in the past. You are not what you did. He is creating something new in you...today if you wish!

Romans 3:23-24, “All of us have sinned and fallen short of God's glory. But God treats us much better than we deserve, and because of Christ Jesus, he freely accepts us and sets us free from our sins.” (CEV)

Yes it's true. We all have sinned. We all fall short. That's right, we don't measure up. But that's ok. Our God treats us better than we deserve. Why? Because of Jesus. Sweet Beautiful Child of God, you are free and accepted. All you have to do is claim Jesus as your Savior.

Why is it that we struggle with this so much? Can we ever let go of what we were told that we were or what we think we were? I hope so. I know for me I have to pray it and claim Scripture like the ones above for my life. I need those reminders to get me through.

Do you believe the saying "Once a ___________ always a ____________?" Do you believe it about someone? Do you believe it about yourself?

The Maya Angelou quote I referred to in the devo was actually a quote I had hanging on my refrigerator for many years. "When people show you who they are, believe them...the first time." I actually tore a card out of the very first issue of "O" Magazine with this quote on it. I saved it to remind myself that I wouldn't get burned or mistreated more than once by the same person. And I held people up to that standard. Do me wrong once and well, you are history! I won't fall for that again! I lived by that until the day came when I needed forgiveness for something horrible that I had done. I didn't want to be defined by it. I didn't want anyone to believe that I could be defined by that "the first time." No, I desired a 2nd chance. Thank God I got it. And to this day I wear a silver band on my right hand with "4GVN" engraved on it. I'll never remove it. I want to remember it always.

I pray that you were encouraged by today's devotion. In the eyes of God you are beautiful. No matter what the world tells you, no matter what skeletons you have in your closet. You are a beautiful child of God. Jesus lived and died for you and in Him there is no condemnation. You can be free. Your slate can be wiped clean.

Please share your thoughts with me.



***Keep checking my blogs, I'll be hosting a give away soon (3 copies of "The Love Dare") and I'm starting a Love Dare marriage study. See http://www.biblestudywithmelissa.blogspot.com/ for more details.


Colleen said...

Thank you for your devotional and for your post today. The truth that we are forgiven and free from all that may have defined us in our past is the most powerful force in my life. I praise Jesus for His sacrifice and profound forgiveness. Nichole Nordeman has a beautiful song titled "Finally Free". I am letting this belief settle deeply into my heart, and pray that I will now define myself by His truth, that in Him, I am a new creation. Have a wonderful day!

Jessica B. (notoriouscutie22@yahoo.com) said...

Melissa, You have once again delivered a Msg of God most needed today especially in the area of the battle of old self/new self. I also struggle with this in relationship to my fiance and some of the relationship woes we have encountered. THANK YOU! I am excited about your upcoming bible study group as well. I too seem to have been overwhelmed with daily living that I haven't been able to attend bible study as often as I like to and it sometimes makes me twinge at saying that but to know we all go through moments such as these let's me know that I can still tap into God with other ways of bible study. Between Wendy's study group and yours I know my faith will continue to increase and my cup of God's knowledge will continue to flow freely. God Bless and I await your upcoming group sessions


Ijeoma said...

Hi Melissa, thank you so much for sharing this message cos it has helped me reclaim my faith in Christ Jesus. Now i know that "Once God's child, is always God's child" and i know that the devil does not have any right over me. God bless you.

Kind regards

Jodi said...

Melissa, I needed this today more than you can know. I made a horrible mistake and have struggled over the last several months over how I could have been so stupid and how my actions hurt others. Even though I know my actions do not define who I am, forgiving myself has not come easy. On my way to work this morning I was having a talk with God and asking him to help me learn to forgive myself and to show me the path as I was stumbling pretty bad. And then I read your blog...if that wasn't a sign, I'm not sure what is! I believe that we are often shown the path but are so caught up looking for it we miss it! Thankfully the Lord was with me today and I didn't miss it. Thank you, with tears in my eyes and warmth in my heart, thank you.

Anonymous said...

Melissa, thank you for this very timely devotional. Recently, I asked someone if they would work with me on a song--also letting them know that they had the freedom to say "no". Well, I found out later they said no because they thought I was still that angry person from six years ago! Boy did that hurt. So thank you so much! The Lord has assured me that yes, I did have anger, but that is not who I am!

Cris Nole said...

Awsome devo and wonderful reminder that I am not my sins, nor my past. You are such an inspiration my friend, love you bunches, thank you for always being willing to share your faith.... You Rock!


See you next month

Melissa said...

Well I am just praising God for using today's devotion to encourage you all. Thank you so much for sharing your comments and writing about your struggles and God's victories in your life. You encourage me and remind me I'm not alone!


Brandee said...

Melissa and all, I walk everyday praising Christ that in Him the old is gone and the new has come! I praise Him that He came to give us freedom, to set us free from our prisons and to give us beauty for our ashes! My life is a testament to the grace of God, just as I am reading all of yours are as well. All glory to Him who makes us new and in Him we can be free! Colleen my sister, I just listened to that song and it is wonderful! I am going to post it on my blog. My two favorites are "Heal the Wound" by Point of Grace and "Now My Lifesong Sings" by Casting Crowns. I Him I walk everyday free of the shame that held me in bondage for many, many years!

God Bless you Melissa, I love you and P31. God Bless you all my sisters!

Brandee, TN

Anonymous said...

Hi, Your blog today got through to me, but not in the way I expected. Its not just about what others think of me. Its also how I think of them. People disappoint us. They do things we dont understand or agree with. BUT remembering that they too are God's creation is enough to encourage me to not think of them in the "once...always" context. Thanks! Sandy :)

Tammy Nischan said...

We just returned home from a small family vacation. The first without Nick our son who passed away in November from cancer.

Melissa, I was thinking on the way home about how "brave" all of us were when it came to riding roller coasters, doing extreme things, facing whatever the day had in store...we all sort-of stepped out on this trip because of and for Nick! My old fearful self is gone! I am so thankful!

Cancer seemed to be one of those things that I thought could destroy everything. Now I know that the devil uses cancer to try and destroy......but God uses it to bring deeper faith, trust, and courage. He also sometimes uses it to bring Home someone He is ready to spend eternity with. Nick was that blessed boy this time! Oh, we miss Nick more than our hearts can bear....but we are confident that he is so good and that he is so happy...and WE KNOW WE'LL BE WITH HIM ONE DAY FOREVER!

So, I can happily say in regards to your devo...

Once living in fear is NOT always living in fear!!!!!!!!!!

Thank you for your wonderful words!

Love, tammy nischan

Momma of JAA Lemon said...

Thank you for you word and please pray for me.

Melissa said...

Thank you so much for you comments. My biggest prayer from this devo is that women would believe in who God made them to be. They would claim their identity in Christ.

I know how I struggled with this. But not anymore.

Thank you for sharing. And I am praying for all who posted here!


Anonymous said...

Thank you, Melissa, for your devotional! I have been defined in my head and by some family members by the promiscuity that I lived in when I was younger (and insecure and searching for love or at lease attention from a male). But I am not that vulnerable girl any more and Praise God- I don't have to be in bondage to that guilt and shame any longer! God has forgiven me and I have to shut down Satan's lies with the truth in His Word about who I am- a new creature in Christ!
Thank you for reminding us in such a powerful way!
Praying for your precious Mama today.
God bless your ministry!
Jenn Doering

Denise said...

4gvn sista! u and me both!
Love u