CONVICTED!!!!!

chain-gang 1

No, not that kind of convicted. I am referring to being convicted by the Holy Spirit.

Today I was driving down a highway, the morning was a little chilly and rainy. Not a hard, driving rain, but somewhere between a drizzle and rain. In places it was raining harder but most of the drive required me to use my windshield wipers to be able to see clearly. So, I am driving along, not really thinking too much about anything, listening to a Christian radio station, thinking about how the songs applied to me, what lessons I could learn from them. Some hard lessons that are less pleasant to think about, some were just uplifting songs. But, as I am driving I suddenly see flashing lights in my rearview mirror. I knew I wasn’t speeding as I had set the cruise control for the speed limit (FYI, sometimes that isn’t the case and I may on occasion set the cruise for 5 or 6 miles above the speed limit) and wasn’t driving carelessly so I really did not know why the sheriff was behind me. Maybe he needed to pass, so I signaled and pulled onto the shoulder to let him pass. NOPE, he didn’t pass, he pulled up behind me. I knew I wasn’t guilty of wrongdoing so I was a little confused but I did as I was taught, turned off the car, put the keys on the dash, rolled down the window and kept my hands on the wheel while he was walking up to me. I have a lot of friends that are in law enforcement and they all say if a person does that, they are less likely to give a ticket so I always do that. Plus, they say it makes them less uncomfortable about the stop as a lot of them, rightly so, are often a little nervous on routine stops since there have been a lot of police and such shot during what was thought to be a routine stop. He walked up and said good morning, then said, “Are you aware that when it is raining and you are using your wipers you are required to have your headlights on?” I said yes and that my vehicle had automatic lights so I had assumed they were on but that I would be sure to turn them on. He walked to the front, I turned them on and he came back to the window and said, “Well, they are on now. I can understand how you might think they would be on if they are automatic. Just be sure that you turn them on when using your wipers. I really would hate if someone couldn’t see you and hit you.” I thanked him, assured him that I would be careful to turn on the headlights in the future when weather was like it was today and told him to be careful and to have a good day. He wished me a good day and started back to his vehicle.

The interaction only took a few minutes and after it was over, when I was back on the road I thought about how, even though I was certain I wasn’t doing anything wrong I got nervous. Heart beating a little faster than normal, mouth felt a little dry. And, for no reason I could think of either. But, I felt like I must have been guilty, I felt convicted in a way. Well, that got me to thinking about how at times I have felt convicted by the Holy Spirit, perhaps while in church listening to a sermon, when I read something in the Bible or Christian literature or when the Lord spoke to my heart about things.

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I saw this on another blog the other day and it spoke to me. Just like the sheriff today, he didn’t stop me to give me a ticket or do me harm, he stopped me to help me improve by being safer while driving. God does it so I see where I am not doing as He wants, and so I can make the changes I need to make to serve Him as He wants me to serve. Well, thinking about the times God has put conviction about something on my heart, and believe me, it has happened a lot, I thought about how some people will get angry about something a pastor says in his sermon because it makes the person feel convicted. They say things like the pastor has no right to attack them in that manner or they won’t go to a church where they are being preached at when there are others that are worse. Some people will quit going to a certain church because of the conviction rather than taking it as a lesson from God. I have felt convicted about things a pastor preached about, I have gotten angry with the pastor for “preaching at me” in front of the rest of the church. Except, the pastor wasn’t preaching at me, and at times had no knowledge of my life or the sin for which I was now feeling convicted. He was preaching a message that God had laid upon him. Now, I know God will do that to put conviction onto a person and while the pastor may not have known the situation I was dealing with at the time, God sure did, and He knew I needed reminded about it. I shouldn’t be angry at the pastor for preaching what God told him to preach about. Whether I thank the pastor or not, it was a needed message at the time and God was using the pastor to tell me that I needed to address this or that issue in my life. And, one should realize that God doesn’t convict us to make us feel bad, He does it so we can correct wrongs and do as He wants us to do.

Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth? Galatians 4:16

I have received messages from people, some I know, some I don’t, but regardless of that, things I had written obviously made them feel convicted as they were pretty hateful in their words, criticizing me for trying to make them feel guilty. Now, if I don’t know a person its clear that I wouldn’t know anything about why they should feel guilty about what I say and those I know that have done so have were not those to whom I was referring when I described different situations, yet they obviously felt guilty. If one feels guilty about something, rather than lash out at the one whose words cause that feeling, perhaps all those that feel like that should take time to talk to God and ask Him why they feel that way and see what they feel He wants them to do. Harassing the pastor, other writers or anyone else, or leaving a church to find a different one when one comes under conviction about something is obviously not the answer. Those who change churches trying to avoid conviction will find that God is there at the new church as well and sooner or later, God will use the pastor at the new church to preach a message that will cause conviction to return. If one quits church completely after coming under conviction about something won’t change things and God will use someone or something else to remind a person about things. Avoiding the truth, avoiding going to God about the conviction won’t help, it will still be there. Seeking God’s guidance is the answer. CHRIST is the answer.

I know this is true, the Holy Spirit will use anyone or anything when He is trying to speak to a person about something. I have tried to “dodge God” by not going to church, trying to justify my actions to lessen the conviction, but it never helped. I have gotten upset and angry with those God was using to tell me of my shortcomings. That did not change the truth, it didn’t correct my wrong behavior. It actually increased it by feeling as angry at those who were being used to try to help me. Only spending time praying, talking to God, confessing my sins and changing my behavior was I able to properly address the convictions.

9 Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing.
10 For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.

2 Corinthians 7:9-10

 

19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.
21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.

John 3:19-21

 

Yes, God places us under conviction at times but it is to help us improve our walk with Him. Don’t hate the messenger, don’t run from the message, instead listen to what is said, correct what is wrong in your life and enjoy the benefits of a closer walk with Christ.

 

Lord, I thank You for all the effort to which you went to teach me the truth and bring me back to You. I praise You for all You are and for having the mercy, grace and forgiveness I needed, but did not deserve. I pray in the name of Jesus that You continue to work in me and help me improve. Help me remember that when you convict me it isn’t to shame me or make me feel bad, but to help me improve. I ask that You help all of us understand that fact and that hiding from the short comings by running from the truth doesn’t change the situation and keeps us from enjoying all the blessings You have for us. Draw us all closer and teach us the truth. Thank You Lord for the salvation You gave me and for the sacrifice Your Son made to make it possible.

 

Amen

 

Thank you all for your time. Have a blessed day and try to be a blessing to someone else today as well.

 

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People watching (social dynamics observations )

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I had to go to the market (grocery store for those who don’t use the same term.) I hate shopping, I usually go, find what I need and go. But, sometimes, I take a little time to observe people and their behavior. I do that at work sometimes too, not just take care of the sick person, but watch the family in the room and see how they interact. As I was shopping, I heard something fall and there were two boys, lets call them Sam and Joe, (I thought about Thing 1 and Thing 2 as I read a lot of Dr Seuss when I started reading a couple weeks ago but thought some would think that mean, lol) but one was standing there the other hollering, “mom, did you see that? Sam knocked that stuff off the shelf.” Sam said, “no I didn’t Joe did.” Joe started hollering louder, “NO I DIDN’T, YOU DID!” Sam said no more. Joe kept going on, saying more and more. Sam just picked up the boxes that had fallen and handed them to his mom as he was fussed at for messing with stuff and knocking it off the shelf, he was lucky it didn’t break. Joe got a huge grin on his face. Something seemed off. As I shopped, they were a little ahead of me for a while. You know how that goes? Seems like when I shop, as I go through the aisles if someone is going the same direction, there ends up being a convoy of sorts for a while so you end up ahead of one person and behind another for a while. That happened so I kind of observed these boys, this family, as I shopped. I would hear a commotion and saw other instances where there was a mishap of some sort, Sam always got blamed by Joe, as soon as something happened. Occasionally, Joe would get something, take it to their mom and say, “Didn’t you want this?” Mom would act appreciative and then tell him to put it in the cart. Sam just followed along and if he tried to help, he was told, “NO, that is not what I wanted, put it back.” But THEN, I looked up at just the right time, Joe shoved Sam into one of the aisle displays, this was a stack of macaroni and cheese, Sam fell, the mac and cheese tower came crashing down. One again, the second it happened Joe started hollering, “Mom, did you see that? Sam just knocked that stuff over.” Sam tried to protest, “No I didn’t mom, Joe pushed me.” Mom was livid at this point and told Sam he was not getting anything today. Then added, “why can’t you just be like Joe, he is always so good at the store and you always have to mess with stuff and cause a big commotion.” Sam started to say something, then, you could see the look of defeat so he just said, “Sorry mom.” and tried to pick up some of the boxes. Joe just grinned.

I went to them, said “ma’am, I don’t want to interfere, but that little boy, (pointing at Joe) shoved him into that stack of boxes.” She just kinda looked at me and then the boys. At that point I didn’t need anything more in that aisle and couldn’t get past all the mac and cheese boxes, so I turned around and went on with my shopping. I wondered about those boys, that family, prayed that God work with them. I will admit, there may be more involved than I know, maybe Sam is usually the trouble maker and Joe usually the victim. I saw them and their interactions for but a few moments but it sure looked to be a pattern of behavior that had played out many times before. Sam, innocent of what he was accused, Joe the instigator, loudly accusing Sam of any and all things that happened.

I have seen this with families in clinic as well. Mom busy with tending the sick child while the other children do what kids do. One will sit there playing with whatever toy, another trying to play with the various pieces of equipment, teasing siblings or whatever, but when something gets knocked over or something gets spilled, one will accuse the other often wrongly, but the mom will seem to believe one immediately and disbelieve the other when he denies wrong doing.

My son in law was talking about issues at the factory where he works, there was a problem in the packaging in an area near him. Someone had loaded the bags, well, what became bags, it was rolls of paper packaging that as it went through the process was cut to length, one end sealed, the package filled and then the other end of package was sealed. But, the roll of packaging material was not loaded correctly, they are supposed to load it, run the package part way through to feed it into the machine, cut off a certain amount so the printing on it is centered correctly. Well, someone had failed to cut off the excess so a bunch of the bags had the printing not placed properly. One employee immediately accused the prior shift worker of the problem. Well, that guy was home by then and couldn’t defend himself. The supervisor made a note, said he was going to have the guys supervisor speak to him and they would just leave the current packaging for him to have to refill when he got to work the next day. The one working at the time went ahead and made corrections and finished out his shift. The next day, there was a bit of a commotion. As my son in law tells it, management had done an investigation, the machines record certain bits of information. Keep track of a variety of things, how much has been processed and packaged, how much time the machine is down for service, how much more packaging is there so they don’t run without it in place and who knows what else. But, as they reviewed the information they found that the packaging material had been reloaded, about an hour or so after shift change, so no way the accused employee had been at fault. Then, my son in law added that it seems the one that blamed the other has had a lot of that sort of thing happen, malfunction of something, always someone else’s fault, someone else gets in trouble but had never been caught. Eventually, he was found out. I don’t know what, if any disciplinary action was taken, but the fact that he left multiple victims if you will, in his wake while always portraying himself as innocent was an interesting thing to me.

I got to thinking on that type of interaction. How one person seems to accuse another of any and all type of behavior and actions. They believe the accuser and though one is innocent, they are automatically assumed guilty, because “Joe said you did it.” with the accused, knowing that protesting will not help, accepting that no attempted defense will be successful accepts it and hopes that one day the truth will be seen. With Sam, Joe and their mom, well, I hope I helped and that mom sees the truth about some of the things. Like I said, I may not know the whole situation, maybe I saw Sam on a good day and Joe on a bad day. But, still, patterns tend to be consistent on human behavior.

 

But if ye will not do so, behold, ye have sinned against the LORD: and be sure your sin will find you out. Numbers 32:23

 

Be not a witness against thy neighbour without cause; and deceive not with thy lips. Proverbs 24:28

 

And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. Matthew 24:4

 

I don’t know if Joe ever apologized, if he ever confessed to his mom. I don’t know if I only saw an unusual event for that family of if it was a typical thing. I just know what I saw then. I hope Sam is as good as he seemed but also hope Joe isn’t quite that bad. Regardless, I pray for them. If Joe is as he seemed, the child is in for a rough life because all those chickens will one day come home to roost.

But, there is hope, for him, for all, Christ, the Son of God, died that we may have salvation. We have all sinned, but He gives us the opportunity to see the truth, most importantly the truth of His word and for the forgiveness and salvation we need. WHAT A GRACIOUS GOD WE SERVE!

22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:
23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:
25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;
26 To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.

Romans 3:22-26

 

Lord, I praise Your Holy Name, please help the family I saw. Help the mother do well raising her children. If not saved, draw them to You. Help me be able to be a better servant, to seek You, to serve You and do Your will. Help me with writing this blog that I use the right words and deliver the messages You wish me to deliver. Give me the Heart and Mind of Christ that I serve You better. Draw family and loved ones, as well as all, to You that those not saved will be and those that are be closer to You. Thank You for the many blessings, my salvation and yet another day to serve You.

Amen

 

Thanks for stopping by today. Getting ready for church, I hope all have a blessed day and find a way to be a blessing to at least one other person today.