Until my baby died, the quicksand kept pulling me down.
One step at a time, I was sucked into the mire deeper and deeper.
I knew the king was in his palace that day. Maybe I wanted to punish him for staying safely in Jerusalem while my husband, Uriah, and the rest of the army faced the enemy on the battlefield.
I knew King David could see the roof of my house from his palace balcony, where he liked to walk, but that day I chose to bathe on the roof in broad daylight.
That was my first step into the quagmire. But I didn't expect what happened next. One of the king's servants appeared at my door, saying my presence was requested at the palace.
How could I refuse? He was not only the king, he was my husband’s supreme commander. And perhaps I was lonely. Whatever the reason, I went to the king and willingly gave myself to him.
We enjoyed being together and the loneliness faded away. Everything seemed wonderful.
Until I learned I was pregnant.
Since my husband had been away at war, everyone would know that I had been unfaithful. Uriah could have me stoned for adultery.
When I revealed the situation to David, the color fled from his face. Soldiers would no longer want to fight for a king who slept with the wife of one of his commanders, while the army slept on the ground miles from home. He devised a plan and sent for Uriah, but when David told him to go home and spend time with me, he refused to even sleep in the house. "How can I enjoy any comforts while my men are on the front lines?" he asked me. Nothing I did could seduce him to lay with me.
Then David arranged for Uriah to be caught in the middle of the line of battle, ensuring that he would be killed. When the word of his death reached me, I pretended to grieve but inside I was relieved. I thanked God for giving me—and the king—a way out of our predicament.
How wrong I was!
David and I married and soon we celebrated the birth of our son. Life seemed to be all I ever wanted it to be. David wanted an heir to the throne, and he believed our son would be king one day.
When the baby became ill, David begged God to heal him but nothing helped. Not his prayers. Not sacrifices. Not the herbs and spices of the healers. After our son died, I thought the heartbreak would kill us, too.
That's when God showed me the sins we had committed against Him. I confessed my transgressions to God and knew the cleansing power of His forgiveness.
It took David awhile, but after he went to see the priest, he changed. He returned with a peace about him that he had not shown since we met. He even wrote this beautiful song that says, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.”
Maybe you've heard it, but no one can sing it like David can. His voice resonates with his passion and love for the Lord.
God pulled us out of the mighty mess we walked into with such stubbornness. He rescued us and gave us another chance. He also gave us another son.
See, he's sleeping now. We named him Solomon. And our God has promised me that he will be a great king, and that through his children, all the people of the world will be saved.
Aren’t you grateful that God is a God of second chances?
© 2012 Marie Wells Coutu
Redeemed - To buy or pay off; clear by payment.
That's what Christ has done for us! We've been redeemed - payed for with His blood.
I've been listening to this song quite a bit lately and each time one line gets me. In fact, I find myself repeating it often when I struggle with something:
"And you look at this prisoner, and say to me son, 'Stop fighting a fight that's already been won'."
Wow, we do that a lot, don't we? Fight battles that God's already won for us--even if we haven't yet seen the victory, it's there.
If you're fighting today; fighting your past, fighting your discouragement, fighting depression or addiction...whatever your fight is, God's calling to you, "Stop fighting, I've already won that battle."
Let Him free you.
Christ has set us free to live a free life. So take your stand! Never again let anyone put a harness of slavery on you. (Galatians 5:1, MSG)
I heard this video on a friend's blog recently and it stuck with me. So often we carry anger with us, thinking we own the right to it, when really the only person we're hurting is ourselves. Yes, there are times when the person who hurt us did it knowingly. But then there are times where that person is so messed up, they had no idea what they were doing. And our being angry with them will not change the situation at all--it will only eat away at us. We need to give it to God. Press into Him and allow Him to heal us. And through our healing, and through HIs power--because sometimes those hurts are so big we don't have the power on our own to forgive--forgive them.
by Susan Tuttle
How often do we attach that word to ourselves? Or let others do it for us.
But taking on that name does not make it true.
See, we are all unworthy, but not one of us is worthless. Not one.
Beloved, do you not know what God did for you? He purchased you—and your cost was so much more than silver or gold. It was His blood. “For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.” (1 Peter 1:18-19)
Don’t minimize the price which was paid for you. If He thought you were worthless, He wouldn’t have died for you. And yet, He took on the cross with joy, knowing we were unworthy. "Let us fix our eyes on Jesus...who for the joy set out before him endured the cross..." (Hebrews 12:2) and He "...demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Hebrews 5:12)
He knew we were sinners. He knew we couldn’t approach the Holy throne of God looking the way we did. And He knew there was nothing we could do to change it…but He could.
So He did.
See, it is only through grace that we are saved. The very nature of grace is it’s a gift given to one who does not deserve it—one who is unworthy. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.” (Ephesians 2:8)
Unworthy, yes. We all are...which is the beauty of His grace. But worthless? No. Christ sees your worth. He loves you more than there are words, and He desires you for His very own. All He wants is for you to accept His gift. Accept Him.
Bring all your guilt and shame to Him. Let Him carry it. Let Him wipe it from you--gone forever. Because underneath it all is a beautiful daughter of Christ. Spotless. Cleansed by His blood. And worthy of her Father’s love.
All you need to do is believe.
You are loved. “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20)
By Marie Wells Coutu
A high school football coach we know has a habit of saying, "Look at me now," to his players when he's telling them something important. Sometimes this habit carries over to his conversations with my husband. Apparently he believes you will hear what he's saying if you are looking at him.
Maybe he is onto something. I could always tell my children were listening to me if they looked at me. When they looked in another direction while I was talking, I had reason to believe they were not paying attention to what I said. And later their actions would prove I was right.
Seems to me that's a lesson we can apply to our relationship with God. When we focus on ourselves, our troubles, or our desires, it becomes harder to hear what God might be saying. But when we spend time in God's Word and focus on who He is, we can better understand and pay attention to what He wants to tell us. And later, our actions will demonstrate that we have heard what God said.
Like the old hymn says, "Turn your eyes upon Jesus...and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace."
Can you recall a time when you found that looking at God helped you gain better perspective on your circumstances? Comment and join the conversation!
Sometimes our burdens—or worries—get out of control.
Today I chatted with a dear friend I don’t see very often, and as we shared events and concerns in our lives, she told me about her “burden basket.”
Since the beginning of this year, she said, life had begun to overwhelm her. She worried about many things: learning to use some new technology for work, her bills, decisions her boss needed to make, her brother’s finances, an overseas trip she would like to make, her boss’s wife, her own health, her elderly mother, needing to shop for new clothes but not wanting to, updating her will, and the list grew and grew. My friend realized that she had become concerned about so many things that her worries began to multiply, as described in Psalm 94:19: “When my anxious thoughts multiply within me, Your consolations delight my soul
Looking for a way to break the cycle, she remembered Psalm 55:22, “Give your burdens to the LORD, and he will take care of you
She decided to write each of her concerns on a separate slip of paper and put the papers in a basket on her table. She kept writing until she had listed every issue that she had been fretting over. When she ran out of things to list, she figuratively and literally lifted her “burden basket” to God and let Him take care of them.
She told me the process gave her a feeling of release and relief, knowing that the Lord is faithful.
The burden basket continues to be a tangible reminder to her of God’s faithfulness and His willingness to take her burdens. “I know that once I’ve given it to Him, I don’t have to worry or think about that problem again,” she said.
I like the idea of using a “burden basket” to give my problems to the Lord. How about you?Photo by Kittikun Atsawintarangkul/FreeDigitalPhotos.net
by Susan Tuttle
“I want to be beautiful.”
Ever said those words?
Ever realize that maybe you already are?
The One who made you makes no mistakes.
Everything He makes is good.
Everything He makes is worthy of love.
Look into His reflection, not the mirror's.
And find you are beautiful.
Simply because you are His. He has made everything beautiful in its time…Ecclesiastes 3:11
—EVERYTHING…that includes you!
by Susan Tuttle
Ever experience that?
Ever wonder why bad things happen to you?
But when bad things happen to us, does that change who God is? It certainly has the potential to change how we see Him. But make no mistake, it does not change Him. Hebrews 13:8 tells us that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.”
The circumstances around us do not change Him. No matter what, “He faithful in all He does. The Lord loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of His unfailing love." (Psalm 33:4-5)
Even in pain, God is faithful.
Just look at Joseph’s story. Sold into slavery by his brothers. Wrongly accused of a crime and thrown in jail. Left there after he helped a fellow prisoner who promised to remember him but didn’t. Read his story. It starts in Genesis 37—you get a little interlude in chapter 38, but it returns to Joseph in 39—and you’ll see, though we follow God, things are not always perfect. However, God is good.
He never left Joseph’s side. He restored him to a place of honor. He sowed healing into Joseph’s heart through forgiveness. And through all the bad things that happened, God was following His plan for Joseph’s life. Growing Joseph even while keeping Joseph in His hand. In the end what does Joseph say to his brothers who set the whole ball in motion when they sold him? “You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good.”
Looking back (hindsight offers us so much, doesn’t it?) Joseph could see God’s plan for his life. He could connect the dots and understand why there were moments of pain. How it shaped him. How it brought him to where God wanted him to be. Did Joseph struggle during those moments? You bet. But he never let go of his grip on God, and ultimately he could look and see that God is good. And he could testify to that, even with all the awful things that had happened to him.
I don’t now what you’re going through at the moment, but I do know this. God is good. Cling to that. Repeat it. Believe it. And each morning, wake up and praise Him—the devil hates that! Don’t let satan take what is harming your life and use it for evil. Grab it back, and let God use it for good.
by Susan Tuttle
So I talked early on about names we believe about ourselves, rather than the name our Father has for us. The problem with believing these names is that they are lies told to us. We begin to believe these lies, and some of us even use them as excuses to keep from doing what God created us to do.
However, as a Christian, we cannot rely on them for an excuse. Once we have accepted Christ as our Savior, once His spirit lives in us, we can no longer claim to not be good enough. By doing so, we minimize His strength, his creativity, and His redeeming power in our lives. He makes us good enough. That’s our testimony! We came from nothing, we were nothing, but in Him we are everything. Important, treasured, loved, forgiven, and He has a plan for us. Jeremiah 29:11 tells us this, “For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”God never would have made a plan for you if He thought you couldn’t achieve it.
Why, then, do we believe we’re not capable of achieving God’s plan for us? Satan. He’s ‘the accuser’ – he’s always willing to whisper in your ear that you’re not enough. And sometimes he uses those in our lives to do that whispering. A parent, friend, sibling, co-worker, and the list goes on. We’ve all had someone in our lives, be it on a daily basis or one comment that stays with you, who help stick on those labels we were never meant to wear.
We don’t have to believe them though, and we certainly don’t have to listen to them. Instead, listen to this: “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, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel.” (Col. 1:22, emphasis mine)
We are free from accusation! Be firm, hold onto the hope that God gave us through His word and believe it! Stop listening to the lies that, for whatever reason, you’re not enough. You are more than enough in God’s eyes, created with a purpose that He wants to see come to fulfillment in your life.
Marie Wells Coutu
It happens every year. Many of us make a New Year’s Resolution to exercise more in the coming year and eat less. Or we resolve to watch less TV and spend more time reading the Bible.
One woman I know resolved not to make sarcastic comments about other people. She says she succeeded for about an hour and sixteen minutes.
If you made a resolution, how do you define success or failure? If I exercise twice a week instead of four times as I resolved—is that failure? What if that is two times more often than I exercised last year? Could that be considered success?
Maybe, as some people have decided to do, we should skip making resolutions altogether. Just “resolve” that we are incapable of change.
Or maybe we should redefine “success.” Diet experts warn you not to give up just because, for one day, you fail to follow the diet plan.
It’s that way anytime we determine to make a life change, whether at the beginning of a new year or sometime later in the year. Whether I want to diet, exercise more, stop gossiping, or spend more time with God, I can’t give up when I blow it.
After all, God doesn’t call us to be successful. We will never be good enough on our own. He only asks us to be faithful: We must run the race that lies ahead of us and never give up. We must focus on Jesus, the source and goal of our faith
.–Hebrews 12:1-2 (GWT)
So if you’ve already blown your resolutions for 2012, remember the year has just begun. And you can start over. Today. Be faithful to your goals.