Monday, March 3, 2008

Conviction or Condemnation?

I'm sitting here at the house office watching the snow start to finally fade from falling. It had to be like 2 nights ago that I was laying in bed and thought to myself, "I can't believe that we went through a whole winter and didnt have one ice storm or mild snow fall in big D"...and alas, here we are!

I wish that you could see some of the emails and hear some of the phone calls that I have received over the last couple of weeks about how God is moving in the hearts of HC partners and guests alike.

One lady called me last week to tell me that the message moved her so much that she canceled an appointment that she had after service, went and picked up her son, who is in college, and had him sit in on the service.

My continued prayer is that our partners and guests will neither see nor hear me but open their spirits to the truth that unless we're leading a holy spirit guided life, we're hopeless sinners with little chance of doing anything bigger than the mess that we can make on our own. In that message, there will probably be a spirit of conviction that could fall on each of us if we're open to HIS guidance.

I know it probably seems pretty obvious, but I do want to point out to you the difference between condemnation and conviction because one is of God and one of the enemy.

I would advise you in these areas of your life to pray and begin to ask God if he's bringing the conviction or if the enemy is trying to condemn you b/c the truth is that we are sinners and as sinners, we're going to fall short of the glorious standard of our heavenly father. If it's conviction that coming, it often comes in his still small and yet gentle voice and it comes through kindness and gentleness...his Godly attributes.

But condemnation will punch you in the face. It'll suck the life out of you and make you wonder if you are a Christian at all. It'll make you wonder if you are worthy of our God's love and if you're entire life has been a fraud.

You have a past like us all and yet your sins no worse than mine...we're all in that kind of a place. In saying that, I dont believe God looks at you with any shame at all. He looks at you with forgiveness as his new creation...

As I'll talk about this coming week, God will love us regardless of how good or how bad we are just the same...he's no respector of persons...but in our attempt to become more like Jesus, the question we simply must ask ourselves is "are my actions today bringing me to become more like Christ or less like Christ." That's the real question and as we ask that question daily, it becomes evident that our hearts desire to be more like him than anything in the world...and just at that point, the Holy Spirit begins to produce fruit in us.

There may be some things that you continue to struggle with for a season and often God will allow us to wallow so that we'll become totally dependent on Him BUT my God is no author of shame so rebuke it and ask God to gently tap on your shoulder encourage you and lead you and he'll do it only with his loving kindness as the gentleman that he is.

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