Tag Archives: shame

The Elephant in the Room

Can you imagine Jacob’s torment?  Can you imagine the pain he must have felt, when his sons returned to his tent, the day they sold their brother Joseph into slavery?  He thought his son was dead, and the pain nearly killed him.  It aged him overnight.

I wonder how much greater his pain would have been, had he known what really happened to Joseph?  Do you think he ever suspected foul play at the hands of his older sons?  Do you ponder whether Jacob ever doubted the validity of what his ten oldest sons claimed had happened to Joseph?  The bible doesn’t say for sure, but I reckon Jacob suspected more than he let on.  Yet, as in most dysfunctional families, too often, there are just some things that are too painful to be spoken out loud.

Jacob must have known how much his other sons hated Joseph, for they had made no attempt to hide it from anyone.  They openly mocked him at every turn, and their jealousy of Joseph was evident to all.  It must have seemed dubious to Jacob, when Joseph turned up dead, after he sent him to check up on his brothers.  After all, he knew full well, when he sent Joseph to them, how angry they already were with Joseph.  After all, hadn’t Joseph given their father a bad report about them, just days earlier?  And what about the beautiful robe Jacob had given to Joseph?  It was the same robe his ten older brothers later returned to Jacob, covered with blood.  Their rancor towards their brother had known no bounds, when Jacob rewarded Joseph with that beautiful robe.  Indeed, Jacob had made it abundantly clear, over and over again, that Joseph was his favorite son, which caused their loathing for Joseph to burn even deeper.

Elephant-in-the-room (1)

Yet, as in most dysfunctional families, they ignored the proverbial “elephant in the room,” and no one ever addressed the issue.  The ten eldest sons never spoke directly to their father about the pain he had caused them, in showing favoritism towards Joseph.  Instead, they allowed their bitterness to fester, turning into a poison that blackened their souls, until their hearts turned violent.

Indeed, this wasn’t the first time that these ten sons of Jacob had turned violent.  They had slaughtered and plundered an entire town, after a man named Shechem, the prince of that town, raped their sister, Dinah.  True, what Shechem had done was evil, but what these ten sons of Jacob had done, was no less evil.  For they had tricked the men into believing that they had forgiven Shechem, and they would allow him to marry their sister, Dinah, if he, and his entire town would be circumcised.

Eager to make amends and marry Dinah, Shechem, and his father, King Hamor, agreed to the deal, and when they met with their council, they agreed too.  Therefore, all of the men in that community were circumcised.  Then, three days later, while all of the men were still in great pain from their circumcisions, the ten eldest sons of Jacob attacked and killed every single male, and afterwards, they took all of the town’s livestock, and enslaved the women and children who remained.

elephant-in-the-room

Yes, Jacob surely knew the violence his oldest sons were capable of, but, again, like the proverbial elephant in the room, he didn’t discuss his suspicions with them, because to actually hear the truth spoken aloud was too much for him to contemplate.  And now, as famine swept across the land, Jacob worried about his family’s fate.  There was no grain to be obtained in all of Canaan, but he had heard that there was grain available in the land of Egypt, so he assembled all of his remaining sons, and had a family meeting.

“We’re going to starve if we don’t get some grain,” Jacob spoke bluntly to his sons, who exchanged glances with one another, but said nothing.  “Why are you standing around looking at one another?” he asked impatiently.  “You know what I say is true.  However, I have heard that there is grain in Egypt.  Therefore, I want you to go down there and buy enough grain to keep us alive.  Otherwise, we’ll all die.”

“You’re right Abba,” Benjamin, Jacob’s youngest son, replied.  “We must go to Egypt right away.  Come brothers, let’s pack up and leave for Egypt at first light tomorrow.”

“NO!”  Jacob shouted.  “Benjamin, you will stay with me, and your brothers will go to Egypt.

“But Abba,” Benjamin protested.

“NO!”  Jacob shouted once again, as he fought the panic that boiled up within him.  His heart pounded loudly in his ears as he drew a shuddering breath, trying to slow his heart rate, and speak calmly.  “No, my son,” Jacob repeated.  “This is a job for your older brothers to handle.  You must stay with  me.”

Benjamin looked closely at his father, and noted the terror in his eyes.  Then he knelt down beside Jacob, and gently hugged him.  “Alright Abba,” he whispered softly.  “I will obey and stay here with you.”

Jacob’s oldest sons exchanged guilty glances with one another, for they, too, had seen the fear and pain in their father’s eyes, and they knew that they were the cause of his agony.  Though no one said a word, once again ignoring the elephant in the room, the brothers knew that Jacob wouldn’t allow Benjamin to travel alone with them, for fear they might harm him, just as they had harmed Joseph.  

Both Jacob and his ten eldest sons felt guilty.  Yet, still, they didn’t speak of what they had done.  Each was trapped in his own torment, and it seemed there was no hope for redemption.  Each one was a captive of a moment that had long since passed. Jacob was trapped in the moment when he had chosen to love Joseph more than all of his other sons.  In doing so, he had rejected their love as insignificant.  His rejected sons were trapped in the moment, when they had taken their anger out on the wrong person, their brother, Joseph, rather than confronting their father for neglecting to love them as a father should.  They were all, utterly without hope.

Yet, in the midst of all this turmoil and anguish, El Shaddai had a plan.  It was time for each one, Jacob and every one of his sons, to face the elephant in the room, and address it once and for all.

© 2019
Cheryl A. Showers

Something Beautiful

Image Credit: Dr. Dana Marie
Image Credit:
Dr. Dana Marie

There’s an old gospel song that never fails to move me.  The words were written by Gloria Gaither, and her husband, Bill Gaither composed the music in 1971.  If my life was a television show, I would make this my theme song.  For though the tune is old and outdated, and despite the fact that I’m not a fan of Southern Gospel music, this song strikes a chord, deep within me.  Listen to the words of this song, and as you listen, know that my prayer is that these words will minister to you, and that God will make something beautiful of your life…

Beloved reader, I don’t know about you, but there’s been a whole lot of ugliness in my life. I’ve had many ugly things said and done to me, that left me feeling ugly and broken in their wake…   And sadly, I’ve also said and done ugly things, and those things left me feeling even dirtier and uglier.

Cheryl - Grade 3_v1The fact is that my earliest childhood memories are filled with ugliness. My mother and my birth father were divorced when I was just a toddler, and my father quickly married the woman he had committed adultery, with while still married to my mother. Before long, he  went on to father another daughter, and played a very active part in her childhood, while I could count the number of times I saw him, as a child, on one hand. This left me feeling unwanted, unloved and abandoned. Have you ever been there?

Meanwhile, my mother fell in love with the man who became my stepfather as soon as she got her divorce papers.  I often felt ugly and unlovable, while growing up with my mother and my stepfather.  I was always in trouble for one thing or another. In fact, one of my earliest memories is of my stepfather angrily lifting me from the table by my left arm, while he beat me with his free hand, as I dangled midair, like a pinata. My crime? Failure to eat my peas. (To this day, I HATE peas!)

I share these stories because I want you to form an image in your mind of a little girl, who felt ugly, unwanted and rejected. Children like this are not pleasant to be around, and I certainly wasn’t. Indeed, I had a huge chip on my shoulder, and because I felt so ugly and rejected, I also felt very sorry for myself. I was whiny and clingy, and the harder I worked to hold on to people, and tried to make them love me, the more I pushed them away from me. I didn’t understand that at the time.  

Looking back through the eyes of time, I now see that my desperate longing for love only turned all of my relationships into high maintenance jobs.  For I required constant reassurance that I was loved.  I constantly needed someone to demonstrate their love for me and make a declaration of their undying love, thereby proving my worth.  It was a vicious cycle.

Cheryl - Grade 6
Cheryl – Grade 6

Because I was so desperate to win the approval of my parents, teachers and peers, I lied. I lied alot. I lied because I was afraid of what would happen if the truth about me was known. I lied because I felt justified in doing so. I lied so much that sometimes, I even convinced myself. I lied because I was ugly, inside and out, and because I hated myself, I was convinced that no one could ever love the “real” me.  Therefore, I lied as I tried to be someone, anyone other than me.  Beloved reader, do you know what it’s like to hate yourself and to feel ugly and unworthy?  My prayer for those who do, is that God will heal your broken heart.

When Jesus saved me, He delivered me from many things… lying… bitterness… smoking…  But some areas in my life took longer for me to overcome, and there was one area in particular, that took much longer for me to overcome. You see, years of rejection, combined with physical, sexual and emotional abuse left me feeling different, unworthy and alone. I felt uglier than anyone else and unworthy of God’s love…


3 To all who mourn in Israel, He will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the Lord has planted for His own glory. ~ Isaiah 61:3  NLT ~


Cheryl - Grade 7
Cheryl – Grade 7

And so, in His great love and mercy, God began to minister to the ugly little girl who still lived inside of me. You see, I grew up being told how stupid and worthless I was, and how ugly too, and I believed it was so. Therefore, God had to change the way I thought…


2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. ~ Romans 12:2  NLT ~


As  I began to read and study the word of God, my way of thinking began to change, as promised, in the scripture above. I discovered that much of what I had been told and taught wasn’t really true. In fact, I realized that many things I believed about myself were nothing more than lies…


“And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” ~ John 8:32  NLT ~


The more I studied God’s word, the more I learned about myself. My whole life, I was told I would never amount to anything. I was told how stupid I was, and how ugly too, and I believed every word spoken against me… But when I studied the bible, I started to learn the truth about me… I learned that I was created in God’s image!


So God created human beings in His own image. In the image of God He created them; male and female He created them. ~ Genesis 1:27  NLT ~


Not only did God create me (and everyone else!) in His own image, but just look at the care He took when forming us…


13 You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. 14 Thank You for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous — how well I know it. 15 You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. 16 You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in Your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.

How precious are Your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! 18 I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, You are still with me! ~ Psalm 139:13-18  NLT ~


Now, please allow me to ask you a question, beloved reader. As you look all around you and see all that God has created, the birds in the air, the fish in the sea, the sun, the moon and the stars, as well as the oceans, the continents, the mountains, the valleys, the forests and the deserts, not to mention every other living creature, as well as mankind, would you say it was all the workmanship of a Master? Or would you say this was the feeble attempt of a mere child? Of course, it’s obvious to see that only the Master Creator, the King of all kings and the Lord of all lords could have created all of this, and His workmanship is marvelous!

Therefore, having come to that conclusion, we must acknowledge that this God, who changes not, did not make a mistake when He created me (you too!). He did not create everything, except me (or you), and call it good.  Further, God did not love the whole world, excluding me (or you)…


“I am the Lord, and I do not change…” ~ Malachi 3:6a  NLT ~

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. ~ Hebrews 13:8  NLT ~

“For God loved the world so much that He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.” ~ John 3:16  NLT ~


Do you see, beloved reader? Despite what anyone says to the contrary, God created you in His image, therefore, you cannot be and you are not UGLY. Indeed, the God who knit you together in your mother’s womb with excellent workmanship, made us (you and me)  BEAUTIFUL… 

And although you may feel that you are UNWORTHY of His love, understand that the love He lavishes on you, makes you worthy


“Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to Him than they are?” ~ Matthew 6:26  NLT ~

Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. ~ Romans 5:1  NLT ~


Do you feel ugly and unworthy of love? Beloved reader, read and study the word of God. As you study His word, you will learn the truth about who He says you are, as He begins to make “Something Beautiful” of your life. 

© 2014
Cheryl A. Showers

How Can You Mend a Guilty Heart?

And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them. ~ Romans 8:28 — NLT ~

Smith_guiltHave you ever felt the devastation of guilt? Do you know what it is to be weighed down by the heaviness of regret for not doing the things you should have done? Have you experienced the anguish that comes from a guilt-ridden conscience, because you did the wrong thing? Have you ever felt the endless torment of knowing that you not only let yourself down, but even worse, you failed God?

I’ve known that pain, and I felt as though the guilt and shame would kill me. I’ve known what it is to lose all hope, because the guilt and shame that I carried convinced me that I was unlovable, and that my sins were unforgivable. And though others showed me much mercy, and tried to comfort me, telling me that I hadn’t failed God, in my heart, I knew better.

GuiltYou see, even though things may seem right in the eyes of man, it doesn’t change the fact that they are wrong. Even though others tried to console me, and even though they saw no wrongdoing on my part, I knew I had sinned against God. Therefore, I did what I had always been taught to do as a Christian. I confessed my sin to God.

But if we confess our sins to Him, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. ~ 1 John 1:9 — NLT ~

guilt2Have you ever confessed your sins to God and still felt the heavy weight of guilt and shame? Have you ever questioned whether you truly are forgiven? Do you know what it is to doubt your own heart? Have you ever seen the error of your ways and wondered if your whole life was a lie? 

That’s how I felt. Do you remember the scripture where Jesus describes what will happen to some who did many things in His name?

21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’” ~ Matthew 7:21-23 — NKJV ~

I was so wracked with guilt that I wondered if I was one of those who had prophesied in His name, and yet never knew Him. Was I mistaken to believe that I was a child of God? Had I been presumptive in assuming that I was saved? I had believed some things that I’ve since discovered weren’t true. So now, what could I do?

I could start anew. I could go back to the One True Source of all wisdom. I could look to God’s word, and find life.

sharper than any swordFor the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires. ~ Hebrews 4:12 — NLT ~

So, how can you mend a heart that has been shattered by guilt and shame? How do you rid your heart from the doubts that have been sown within it, by that same guilt and shame? You go back to the basics…

For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.~ Romans 3:23 — NLT ~

As the Scriptures say, “No one is righteous— not even one.~ Romans 3:10 — NLT ~

all have sinnedAccording to God’s word, I was no different than everyone else. I had sinned, just as everyone else has sinned. Therefore, although my guilty conscience said otherwise, according to the scriptures, which are God-breathed, I was no worse than anyone else… and it goes without saying that I am certainly no better.

16 “For God loved the world so much that He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. 17 God sent His Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through Him. ~ John 3:16-17 — NLT ~

9 If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved. 11 As the Scriptures tell us, “Anyone who trusts in Him will never be disgraced.” 12 Jew and Gentile are the same in this respect. They have the same Lord, who gives generously to all who call on Him. 13 For “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
~ Romans 10:9-13 — NLT ~

confess-with-your-mouth-believe-with-your-heart-you-will-be-saved-romans-10-9I do confess with my mouth that Jesus is Lord. He is the Lord and Master of everything. And He is certainly the Lord and Master of my life. And yes — I DO believe that God raised Jesus from the dead. I believe it with my whole heart.

And yet, how could I know for sure that I was truly saved and forgiven? Have you ever needed reassurance? Have you ever been so consumed by the guilt and shame, that you just needed some assurance that you were indeed saved and forgiven?

8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. ~ Ephesians 2:8-9 — NKJV ~

17 So faith comes from hearing, that is, hearing the Good News about Christ. ~ Romans 10:17 — NLT ~

saved-by-grace-through-faithDo you see? When the time comes that we have failed God and ourselves, so that we are riddled with guilt and shame, causing us to doubt whether we can be forgiven, and whether we are truly even saved, that is when we must have faith in Christ. And this faith is not something we can earn by being good enough or by doing enough good deeds. This faith in Christ is quite simply a gift given by our gracious Almighty God, and the more we hear His word spoken aloud, the stronger our faith grows. 

Now, I won’t tell you that going to church will save you, because the church can’t save anyone. And the scriptures make it very clear that salvation is a gift from God. However, I will tell you that when you gather together with your brothers and sisters in Christ, your faith will grow.

24 Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. 25 And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near. ~ Hebrews 10:24-25 — NLT ~

As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend. ~ Proverbs 27:17 — NLT ~

iron-sharpens-ironYou see, when I was so addled with guilt and shame, my natural instinct was to pull away from other believers, for in my shame, I didn’t feel that I was worthy of their love, and worse yet, I didn’t feel worthy of God’s love. And so it was, that by pulling away from other believers, my faith began to weaken, for I had no one to pray for me and with me. By hiding myself away, I had no one to encourage me and speak life to me, and I became consumed by the fear of dying. 

And yet, though I was brought low, God, in His infinite mercy and grace, never let me go. He never forsook me. You see, it was also during this time, that He was leading me to leave the fellowship that I had been a part of for more than three years. I no longer belonged there, and at the time, I felt as though that was my punishment — to no longer belong in His house. But I was wrong. 

I no longer belonged in that fellowship, because God was calling me elsewhere. A sister in Christ had been placing posts on Facebook about the church that she had been attending for quite awhile, and I felt the Spirit leading  me to go to this house of worship, and yet, I was hesitant, because the weight of my guilt and shame left me weary and fearful. What if I still didn’t belong here either? 

And yet, I still felt a pull to go to this church, and one thing was for sure… I was sick and tired of being sick and tired! I hadn’t gone to worship with other Christians since before Thanksgiving, and I was hungry! I was hungry to worship and sing to God corporately with other believers, and I was hungry and thirsty to hear the word of God spoken. And so, two Sundays ago, I determined that I would attend worship service at the church my friend had been writing about for so long. 

Beloved reader, do you know what it’s like to walk straight into the will of God? Do you know how good it is to receive confirmation and encouragement from His sweet Holy Spirit… to know that Jesus really does love you? I knew that I had stepped right into His perfect will for me that Sunday. The worship was like honey to my lips. And the preached word pierced right through my broken heart, as the Lord began to mend it with this message about guilt and God’s forgiveness. 

You see, beloved reader, the scripture that says, For “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved,” is true. During this whole trial, I called on His name, and He saved my life from the pit. But it wasn’t enough to merely rescue me, for you see, His love for us is much too great to stop there. That’s why He not only forgives our sins when we confess them to Him, He also cleanses us from all unrighteousness. He heals the brokenhearted. Beloved reader, He healed my broken heart. And if He did that for me, He will certainly do the same for you. Just do as I did, confess your sin, and call upon His name — JESUS!!!

© 2014
Cheryl A. Showers

Poverty – God’s Plan or Curse?

Image Credit: http://memyselfandjesus.files.wordpress.com/2013/01/photo-1.jpg
Image Credit:
http://memyselfandjesus.files.wordpress.com/2013/01/photo-1.jpg

For as long as I can remember, many leaders in the church have said that poverty is a curse, and has never been a part of God’s plan. And yet, as I read the scriptures, and as I look around me, I see that people have been impoverished since man’s fall from grace. Another thing that I’ve noticed is that both good people and bad people live in poverty, which leads me to believe that poverty is not a curse or a punishment for sin, as many in the church have been led to believe.

Poverty was never God’s plan. That is why we have got to talk about this.  God never intended us to struggle financially and be in poverty all of our lives. There are seasons, yes we go through tough times and there is hard work getting the foundations down. But it is often our wrong thinking, negative attitudes and bad choices or lack of principled living that causes us to continue the battle in financial areas.

~ Pastor Paul DeJong,
Christian Life Centre
Aukland, New Zealand ~

Image Credit: http://www.svhelden.info/witchtower/2012/05/the-bibles-solution-to-poverty/
Image Credit:
http://www.svhelden.info/witchtower/2012/05/the-bibles-solution-to-poverty/

Have you ever struggled with poverty? Have you ever heard statements like these in church or on Christian TV? I have to tell you, as someone who is struggling with poverty, I don’t find any comfort in these words. As a matter of fact, statements like these don’t increase my faith. They only serve to fill me with more questions, and when I have questions about God’s intentions and His plans, the best and only place to seek answers is in His word…

There will always be some in the land who are poor. That is why I am commanding you to share freely with the poor and with other Israelites in need.

~ Deuteronomy 15:11 — NLT ~

If poverty isn’t a part of God’s plan, why does His word say, There will always be some in the land who are poor”? If poverty isn’t a part of God’s plan, then why was Jesus, His only begotten Son, born in a stable? If poverty isn’t a part of God’s plan, why was Jesus, who never sinned, homeless?

But Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens to live in, and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place even to lay His head.”

~ Luke 9:58 — NLT ~

Image Credit; http://kanadaihirlap.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/jesus-homeless.jpg
Image Credit;
http://kanadaihirlap.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/jesus-homeless.jpg

All too often, today’s church speaks of poverty as something shameful. I’ve heard it said that those who live in poverty have sinned against God, or that their faith is weak, or that they live in poverty because they don’t tithe or give enough to God (the church), and each time I hear these things, I feel bile rising up from my stomach, because this is not biblical. Such twisted thinking can only come from the dark one, who has infiltrated the church and sown a harvest of lies within her, and sadly, those within the church have bought his lies, hook, line and sinker, because the people foolishly look to their pastors and televangelists as the head of the church, rather than seeking Christ, the true head of the church, and His word. Let’s look and see how God really feels about the poor…

Whoever oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God.

~ Proverbs 14:31 — NIV ~

4 But You are a tower of refuge to the poor, O Lord, a tower of refuge to the needy in distress. You are a refuge from the storm and a shelter from the heat. For the oppressive acts of ruthless people are like a storm beating against a wall5 or like the relentless heat of the desert. But You silence the roar of foreign nations. As the shade of a cloud cools relentless heat, so the boastful songs of ruthless people are stilled.

~ Isaiah 25:4-5 — NLT ~

Image Credit: http://iphonegeek89.blogspot.com/2011/04/jesus-was-homeless.html
Image Credit:
http://iphonegeek89.blogspot.com/2011/04/jesus-was-homeless.html

Beloved readers, we are living in dark times, and there are many who claim to speak in the name of the Lord, but beware! Some of those leaders that so many look up to, speak with forked tongues, calling good evil, and evil good, and if you simply take the words of others as the gospel, without ever reading or listening to the word of God for yourself, you could be deceived into believing a lie.

My friends, do you know how to be still and listen for the voice of the Lord to speak to you? Do you know His voice? When you give money to a ministry, do you know where that money is going? Does it go to help wealthy televangelists get richer? Does it go to build bigger and larger churches? Does it go to pave the church parking lot? Does it go to pay for special ministers to come and minister? Do you really think this is what pleases God?

“He (Josiah) gave justice and help to the poor and needy, and everything went well for him. Isn’t that what it means to know Me?” says the Lord.

~ Jeremiah 22:16 — NLT ~

Image Credit: http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-h-mivacPYjU/T_jHWrCsXEI/AAAAAAAABlE/dRmUjNk2azM/s1600/homeless+jesus.jpg
Image Credit:
http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-h-mivacPYjU/T_jHWrCsXEI/AAAAAAAABlE/dRmUjNk2azM/s1600/homeless+jesus.jpg

As I read these scriptures, for the most part, I don’t see poverty as a curse or a punishment from God. To be sure, God does punish some with poverty, but not all who live in poverty are cursed or punished, and it’s very obvious that God has great love for the poor.

Listen, my dear brothers and sisters: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom He promised those who love Him?

~ James 2:5 — NIV ~

These scriptures show that those who speculate and make judgments against the poor are wrong. Men and women can and do love the Lord and serve Him faithfully, and yet they may be poor or become poor, even though they are walking in His will. To say that poverty has never been a part of God’s plan is a blatant lie, conceived in the black heart of the enemy, and sadly, many in the church have bought into that lie.

“… But it is often our wrong thinking, negative attitudes and bad choices or lack of principled living that causes us to continue the battle in financial areas…”

~ Pastor Paul DeJong,
Christian Life Centre
Aukland, New Zealand ~

Beloved readers, I urge you to examine the scriptures and take note of how important it is to the Lord for us to care for the poor. And please, be careful not to make self-righteous judgments against them. Our physical wealth and comfort are not as important to the Lord as our spiritual health and well-being… Do you remember what Jesus said to the disciples after the rich young man chose to keep his money, rather than to give it away to the poor and follow Christ?

23 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “I tell you the truth, it is very hard for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. 24 I’ll say it again—it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!”

~ Matthew 19:23-24 — NLT ~

Beloved readers, don’t blindly take someone’s word as gospel. Pray and seek wisdom from Holy Spirit, and read the scriptures. We live in a wonderful period of time, where we can search the internet for answers, and read the bible online, and for those who are unable to read, the audio bible is available, so that there is no excuse for anyone to be ignorant.

Therefore, my friends, the next time you hear someone say that poverty is not a part of God’s plan or that it is a curse or a punishment, remember this…

  • Jesus was born in a stable to poor peasants, and during the last years of His life, He was homeless.
  • Jesus commanded the rich young man to give away all of his wealth to the poor and become poor himself, if he wanted to follow Him.
  • The apostle, Paul refused to accept payment for preaching the gospel. (1 Corinthians 9:15-19; Acts 20:29-35)
  • When Jesus sent the disciples out to minister, He sent them out with nothing but the clothes on their back. (Mark 6:7-9)
  • Many of the early Christians and martyrs boasted of their poverty, such as Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Tertullian, Cyprian.

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

Swift Blogging Challenge: Look into Your Eyes

Swift Blogging Challenge: Look into Your Eyes

Look at yourself in the mirror. Make sure the mirror is big enough for you see your whole face, and do this in broad daylight. Look yourself straight in the eye and don’t flinch. Say out loud (don’t look away) “I am a good person. I am a good person. I am a good person.”

Write about the experience. Was it easy? Did you struggle? Could you do it? If not, why not? If you did, how did you react? Serious? Laughing? Sad? Did you tell yourself, this is silly? If so, why do you think you said that?

Write it all down, and share!

This exercise brought back memories to me… memories of another time when I stood in front of the same exact mirror, uttering words very similar to these. What a difference fifteen years can make… What a difference God‘s healing grace makes.

Mirror mirror...
Mirror mirror… (Photo credit: antkriz)

Fifteen years ago, when I stood in front of the same mirror, telling the person who stared back at me that I am a child of the Most High God, and that I am worthy of His love, I struggled to look at the woman staring back at me from the mirror. I was instructed to look beyond the woman that I was then, and look back to the little girl locked inside of me, and tell her that she is worthy of love, and that loved her… I was told to retrieve pictures of the little girl that I once was, and to talk to her and show her the mercy that I showed other little girls.

Unless one has struggled with self-hatred and low self-esteem, you can never fully grasp how difficult this assignment was. I remember looking into the eyes of the little girl that I once was, as though I was the third person, looking into the eyes of someone who was not me, and talking to her. I remember the hatred and contempt I felt as I looked at the pictures of this child with my counselor.

When my counselor mentioned the pain and the innocence that was stolen from this child, I remember snarling back, again, as though the little girl in the picture was someone other than myself, “She was never innocent!” You see, I blamed the little girl I once was for all of the sins that had been committed against me. I blamed myself for the beatings I received. I blamed myself for the rejection by my parents, my teachers and my classmates. I blamed myself for causing my dad to molest me, because I had never been innocent.

eye
eye (Photo credit: Ricky Justus)

I could not bring myself to believe that this little girl was ever good, ever innocent, ever worthy of love, and I could not bring myself to believe that I, as an adult was good and worthy of love. And then, I remember visiting my counselor one evening, as we again spread my school pictures before me, and my counselor covered all but my eyes in each picture. As I looked at the eyes, who could have been anyone’s eyes, I could see pain in each of the eyes, but that pain was mingled with hope… except for one picture.

As I looked deep into these eyes, I saw death. It was clear that this picture was taken after I was molested by my daddy. In the eyes of this picture, I saw that all hope had died. Gone were this little girl’s hopes and dreams that had prevailed throughout all those other years despite the beatings and despite the many rejections and ridicule. In all that this little girl (I) had suffered up to this point, I had always retained some hope for the future, but after the final betrayal from my daddy (I had always thought of my stepfather as my daddy), and my mother’s refusal to protect me (“Because,” I thought, “I wasn’t worthy of anyone’s love”), my hope had died, as evident in my eyes.

“Cheryl,” my counselor wisely said, “look at those eyes. They could be the eyes of your daughter,” and she was right! My daughter very closely resembles me. “What would you say to that little girl, if she was your daughter? Would you blame her?”

augenblick
augenblick (Photo credit: westpark)

Suddenly, it was as though a dam burst, and with that bursting of the dam, all of those years of bitterness and anger I had directed at myself washed away, as I saw that poor hurt little girl, who tried so hard to earn everyone’s love, but always fell so far short. My heart broke for the little girl I once was, a little girl who had once been innocent. I felt a rush of love for Little Me, who longed so desperately for love, and yet I wasn’t even able to love myself.

Now, fifteen years later, as I look into the mirror, I do see a good person. I see a woman who may not be beautiful in the world’s eyes, but in the eyes of God, and in the eyes of those who love her, she is truly beautiful, from the inside out. I see a woman who loves deeply, and who is deeply loved. I see a woman who has overcome many obstacles in life, by the grace of God and by His mercy and love. I see a woman who has been called by God to share the hope that I have found with others, so that they too will see how much God values each person, and so others will know that if God loved me enough to set me free from the pain of my past, He can surely do the same for them, if they will allow Him to do so.

© 2012
Cheryl A. Showers

Swift Blogging Challenge: Guilty

Swift Blogging Challenge: Guilty

Does the feeling of guilt serve a purpose? If so, what is it?

Who's Guilty?
Who’s Guilty? (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dictionary.com defines guilt as a feeling of responsibility or remorse for some offense, crime, wrong, etc., whether  real or imagined. Does the feeling of guilt serve a purpose? Of course it does. Actually, the feeling of guilt can serve two purposes. One is productive and good, while the other is unproductive and damaging.

God gives each of us a conscience, which is a part of our heart and soul.  “Even when Gentiles, who do not have God’s written law, instinctively follow what the law says, they show that in their hearts they know right from wrong. They demonstrate that God’s law is written within them, for their own consciences either accuse them or tell them they are doing what is right.” (Romans 2:14-15 NLT) 

It’s our conscience that cries out, giving us that “guilty feeling”, and preventing us from doing wrong. This is a good thing, because if we didn’t have a conscience, which creates that feeling of guilt, there would be nothing to stop us from lying, cheating, stealing or killing.

It also serves a good purpose after we have committed a sin or crime, because that feeling of guilt is hard to live with. Guilt won’t allow  us to rest after we’ve committed a sin or a crime, until we confess and try to right the wrong we’ve done. And that same “guilty feeling” exists to hopefully prevent us from repeating that sin.

Now, some of you may be thinking, “Not everybody feels guilt. What about a sociopath?” And you’re right, but scripture explains this as well. You see, the truth about God is written on everyone’s heart, and they instinctively know the truth, but many deny this. They choose to exchange the truth of God for a lie, and God doesn’t force anyone to serve Him, so He has given those who have hardened their hearts over to whatever shameful deeds they come up with in their minds and their hearts. These people feel no guilt for their actions, because they have become hardened to that feeling.

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/new-chapter/201001/putting-guilt-perspective
http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/new-chapter/201001/putting-guilt-perspective

The other purpose for guilt comes not from God, but from the devil himself. You see, while God uses that “guilty feeling” to prevent us from doing wrong, the devil perverts that feeling and turns it into condemnation. I’m sure we’ve all experienced that at one time or another in our lives. As I said before, that “guilty feeling” is good when it prevents  us from doing wrong, but what about when that guilt turns into condemnation? What about when you’ve repented of your sin and asked God for forgiveness, but you just can’t forgive yourself?

This is not of God, and it serves no good purpose. Rather, the purpose of this kind of guilt is to destroy you. One of my favorite scriptures is, “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.” (Romans 8:1 NKJV) After I’ve confessed my sins to God, and turned away from them, and if I’ve gone to the person that I’ve harmed and asked for his/her forgiveness, I should feel no more “guilt.” If I do feel that “guilty feeling” still, I can be sure that it’s not guilt I’m feeling, but condemnation, or false guilt, and that isn’t from God.

Therefore, in conclusion, yes, the feeling of guilt does serve a purpose, and that purpose is to prevent us from sinning against God, thereby harming others and ourselves. The feeling of false guilt also serves a purpose, designed by the devil, to condemn us and weigh us down.