We all have things in our lives that didn’t turn out the way we had hoped or dreamed. Some are greater than others.
Maybe your dream job turned into a nightmare.
Maybe that dream relationship was a huge mistake
Maybe one sip with the guys turned into an addiction that destroyed
Maybe an innocent look or conversation started an affair
I don’t know what it is for you but the regret part of it can paralyze you. Wishing you could take it back. Hoping you would have made a different decision.
This weekend I am in Philadelphia at a furniture show that I have exhibited at for over 15 years. That is 15 weekends of my life that I made choices good or bad. Unfortunately several of those weekends are tarnished by some bad choices. I made choices that affected my marriage, my family and my relationship with God.
This weekend is the four year mark from when my marriage and relationship with Christ took a huge turn. Choices I made to sin and destroy, God used to capture my attention once again. Satan is always looking for an opportunity to help you sin. Notice I did not say “make” me sin.
“The devil made me do it” is a cop out. He does not have that power. He only provides opportunities that allow us to choose sin. I followed the opportunities so many times to feed a part of me that was broken. On the other side of that is God’s grace and opportunity to turn back to him! God is always pursuing your heart and soul. He longs to be in a relationship with you! I look back now and see that He provided so many opportunities for me to come back to Him.
Shortly after this weekend four years ago, He gave that opportunity once again. I was at a point of running away or running to Him. Running to him meant I might lose everything
Even if all those things were gone, I chose MY GOD. He got all of me. Once he had all of me…..He then could truly rebuild, renew and restore me!
I catch myself many times falling into regret for my past. I wish I could take it back and change the decisions I made so many times. It breaks my heart to see how much pain and suffering I caused my wife and family. From an outside perspective I can see why so many people were tempted to just toss me aside as a lost cause.
I could sit in that regret, but that’s where shame and guilt live. They are not from God but from the enemy. Satan wants us to live there because it puts the focus on what we have done. That’s just pride and arrogance putting all the attention on me!
God wants us to remember not regret.
Shows what God has done
Puts His Grace and Mercy as the focus
Shows us what we did, but more importantly what HE has DONE
Four years ago Andrea separated for reconciliation. Which meant we had to walk separate journeys hoping to get back together but there was no guarantee. Our kids were 9, 7 ,5 . I remember trying to explain to them why I was leaving. Heartbreaking to say the least!!!
The day I moved out my 9 year gave me some things. A letter, a rock and a little group of verses she handed me before I drove out the driveway.
The rock I carried in my pocket for the entire time of the separation and beyond. It was a reminder of what was on the line with my family. I brought all of those items with me on this trip. I knew there were emotions I would experience while here and knew that these things would help me “remember” what God has done.
One of the verses is:
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God…will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
I have read this verse several times….I am fighting back regret…..but then I REMEMBER all the things God has done for me. That squashes regret!
REBUILT my LIFE
RENEWED my HEART
RESTORED my RELATIONSHIP
Tough question isn't it? Some may be offended, some may be puzzled, but yet many may squirm and bit when they read that question.....
Pornography is at epidemic proportions in our culture. Our culture has taken sex, lust, promiscuity, and pornography to levels never seen before in our country. We have taken what God designed to be something beautiful and spiritual that is to be shared between a man in a woman inside the sacredness of marriage and demoralized it down to an act to satisfy some urges between animals.
So back to the question....I know the question assumes something about you and your home. Let me clarify it a little. In my home porn used be a secret sin hidden in the darkness for years. It was in the home on the computer, magazines hidden in secrecy, movie rentals from those back rooms at the video stores.....Now it is kept outside the house by a wall that God has built for us. I asked....no begged Him to show me how to get this out of our home....
Matthew 7:7 “Ask and it will be given to you, seek and you will find, Know and the door will be opened to you”
Funny thing about God...His ways are not ours....I wanted the porn out of my life because it was destroying me and my family....He removed me from the home. He had to separate me from all that was comfortable and known to get my attention. He had to show me that my life was a mess and desperately needing His intervention in order to kick this addiction. You see I had been battling this “normal guy” problem for over 20 years. I had tried internet filters, counseling, accountability partners and more but the problem was still continuing. I changed my behavior patterns but my Heart never really saw a need to change. God pulled me away to show my I need a heart change. When my life crumbled around me, did I really want what I said I did or was I just playing.....
I made a decision during that separation I would do whatever it took to get rid of porn and the addiction I had created.....I put porn outside the doors of my house...He repaired the hole that I had opened in my heart so long ago when I first looked at those images..then looked again and again as Satan captivated me with something that I did not fully understand. God showed me that darkness has to be exposed, sin revealed and then He can rebuild a new foundation for His purpose.
Isaiah 61:4 “ They will REBUILD the ancient ruins and RESTORE the places long devastated:
They will RENEW the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations.”
The words words make me sad and smile all at once....to know where I was because of my choices, but the hope of knowing HE is waiting to REBUILD, RENEW, RESTORE your heart and life if you ask and truly seek HIM.
So I ask you again, where do you keep the pornography in your home? Is it inside hidden for your secret pleasure destroying your heart, mind, family, your relationships and your soul? Or have you sought His protection and kept it outside the walls of your home, family, mind and your heart?
Porn is everywhere....The enemy seeks to destroy and knows that this perversion of Gods design for intimacy is working very well in this culture. So you can choose where you keep it....