It’s really quite a difficult thing to do, to admit failure.  We’d rather make excuses, or blame someone else, for the things we’ve done.

“But you don’t know how hard it’s been!  I’m going through hell here.”

“Well, if they’d just get their act together I wouldn’t have so many worries!” 

Yet, when it comes right down to it, we are not to look at others, but ourselves.  And really, there’s quite enough for one person to think about than to worry about those all around.

Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the Lord. ~Lamentations 3:40

To examine our ways…to scrutinize our paths…to look deep inside ourselves…

To test our ways…check out what we’ve been doing…ask the question, “What’s up with that?”…

To realize our own shortcomings…our sins…without blame or excuse…

And return to the Lord.

It’s the first step out of denial. 

It’s the first step toward restoration. 

It’s the first step to a right relationship with the God of the Universe.

Are you ready to take that step? 

I’ve decided it may be time to ask God for help:

Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Test my thoughts.
Point out anything You find in me that makes You sad,
And lead me along the path of everlasting life.

Psalm 139:23-24 (TLB)


26 responses »

  1. Yeah, I always start out with, “Well, let me tell YOU a thing or 2!!!” and then it hits me that that is precisely what God has been trying to reveal to MOI…

    Not exactly fun but incredibly freeing.

  2. Thanks, Slamdunk. I needed a bit of direction, myself…always best to get honest, huh?

    Hey, Ric. If I would only listen instead of talking, I might get it learned much quicker. Freeing? I hope to get there…someday.

  3. Ric is a wise man 🙂

    i have mentioned many times how wise it is to Truly know thyself, particularly before looking to or trying to ‘help’ others.

    To be able to see our own fault that we can often recognise so ‘strongly’ in others actions.

    We have a lot of ‘beams’ that we ‘swallow’ easily while straining at the ‘specks’ we see reflected in others.

    If you ask me i’d say you had been asking His help for quite some time now Sis 😉

    I would caution this though….

    Saying that Psalm could be a potential cause of more, not less pain.

    I’m not saying ultimately it won’t be worth it in the long run, just that His Ways are not as ours and it is a mistake to in any way expect that or ‘predict’ how things will occur in the future, or think we know what He will do in order for us to see what makes Him ‘sad’.

    The ‘tests’ He poses for us to ‘pass’ can sometimes be through very painful physical or mental or emotional or all three processes here on earth to show us how strong it’s hold over us really is.

    If we ask for a test we can expect to receive one. 😯

    i believe the thing that makes Him the most ‘Sad’ for us is our innate tendency to choose from the ‘position’/understanding of our physical fleshy being and not our Spiritual one; the inner part of us that holds more to this earth than His Spirit; to our family than His Son.

    To make Him ‘Happy’ i believe Christ was trying to show us how to turn those ‘around’. I believe Christ did just that throughout His life on earth and if He can – we can.

    He promised His Disciples they would achieve greater miracles than He did while down ‘here’.

    Those who do will see the New City descending upon the earth in ‘this’ generation.


  4. “Saying that Psalm could be a potential cause of more, not less pain.”

    Honestly, Love, I’ve been praying that prayer for the past 20 years…could be part of the reason I’ve had so many trials. I do believe He takes us up on our words. I’ve not prayed it lightly. But truly, I did not expect Him to find SO MANY things that made Him sad (my offensive ways).

    I am grateful He is faithful and will not leave me to my own foolishness. He’s forever “needling” me to come closer.

    It’s a good thing.

  5. Good – if sometimes extremely painful ! 😦

    i think you could be very right here ( and in other places) Sis.

    We manage to pick up ( often unintentionally) a LOT of ‘baggage’ on our Journey and Our Path back towards Him requires we undergo much in order to overcome much – and be rewarded ultimately accordingly.

    Hang in there, Sis 🙂

    life as we come to know it lasts but a short time, if that is any ‘consolation’? 😉


  6. You described my process when I finally shared my story on my blog.

    Being honest about who we are, what we’ve done, is certainly not easy but from experience I can say it is freeing.

    I think it’s time Christians stop hiding behind a mask. We are self-righteous when we begin to present ourselves as being perfect, sin-free, holier than thou and while we may not think those things about us indirectly that’s what we’re saying when we pretend that the sin in our lives doesn’t exist. And we do this by measuring sin. As long as we’re not committing the “bigger” sins like adultery, murder, stealing we’re “okay” while we ignore the “smaller” sins like lying, gossiping, refusing help to our neighbor in need when all of those are equal in His eyes and we commit one or more of those daily in our lives. I believe that’s what He’s shown me in this current season. That I have to deal with every sin; not just the ones I think are “big.”

    Repentence is good. It’s a release. When we don’t repent we are in bondage and God knows that which is why He encourages us to share the truth and repent. l am so glad we serve a God who continually wants to set us free. Praise God.

    Love you Sis 🙂

  7. Life is, indeed, very short, Love. And I do take some comfort in that thought. 😉

    We have a very difficult time calling sin, that is not one of the “biggies”, evil. You know, Gch? We have a scale in our minds that I think is based upon OT Law. Jesus did say if we break one we’re guilty of all. But looking at the consequences of sin in the OT, a distinction was made of the type punishment endured for the various sins committed.

    So, somewhere, there is a scale. Yet, we are ALL guilty. Even the smallest infraction makes us guilty. All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. None is perfect, no, not one.

    I mean, honestly, eating a piece of fruit caused death?!?!?! Yes. In our minds it’s a minor infraction. It was only one simple rule to obey, but it was not followed.

    We do not long for God’s way. We want our own way…we want to be our own god. That is evil.

    Without turning to Him, repentance, we will remain in separation. As you say, it is completely freeing to agree with God that we need Him. We are free to obey…that’s true freedom. We are not a slave to our sin anymore, not with His Holy Spirit to guide us.

    Praise God. Love you, Gch! Keep in touch while you’re away. I’m missing you already!!! 😦 But praying for your health and a good time with family. 😉

  8. I ask God for help a LOT. And yet, I don’t think I ask for help enough. It’s hard sometimes to realize that He’s that interested in helping me.

  9. Me neither, Annie, not enough. And everytime I have asked for help, He’s never refused. I just don’t always want the help He sends. I think I do, until I realize it means giving up my way for His.

    He’s definitely interested in helping. He tells us to cry out to Him in our distress and He will deliver. To recognize His deliverance and hold on for dear life…that takes submission, you know?

  10. I was thinking about forgiveness vs. repentance – I don’t think they are the same. When we ask God to forgive us of a sinful act – we also need to repent, show a heart that is willing to turn from that kind of behavior or act. To not turn away from sinful behavior once identified is dangerous to our well being spiritually. a third word pops into my mind as well – restitution. Sometimes God & life requires that as well.

    Hope you are having a great weekend Michelle!

  11. True words, Papa. Repentance is often overlooked. I have come to believe thought that if I continually focus on my sin, and obsess over the turning away from sinful behavior that two things happen:
    1. I’m not focused on God but me, and
    2. I’m missing out on a whole lot of sin that may not be easily observed (thoughts, motives, attitudes, inaction).

    I believe dying to self includes constantly focusing on my own failures – not that it’s not important to repent and forgive, but that it’s too easy to be entirely consumed with ME and not focus on others. I keep telling myself that I am fine; I have a secure relationship with the Creator of the Universe, and I need to focus more on others that may or may not be enjoying the relationship nor the freedom that I have been given.

    @gch – how true. We do need to stop being so self-righteous, egotistical, arrogant, and rude. People DO see this – and it’s often excused as Godliness…

    @Michelle – I think I shared this with you; there are only two kinds of sin…the BIG ones you commit, and the little ones that I commit! 🙂

    “Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper…” [1 Kings 19:11-12]

    We all need to be still and listen.

  12. B4D – Oh how true! We need to stay focused on our God – I think if we do that He will show us how and when to repent! Its a walk of freedom, not bondage. BUT – it does require obedience!

  13. Absolutely. and the first three commands are love God, love neighbors, and love each other. Once I’ve got those down, I’ll move on to the rest…

  14. I see a difference, too, Papa. We repent. God forgives. And restitution…whew! That’s a whole other topic based upon remorse, don’tcha think? Well, I guess not always remorse…it can be a natural or enforced consequence. Do you think it’s possible to enter into a state of forgiveness without repentance? I’m thinking of the teaching toward the end of the Sermon on the Mount, where Jesus states, “I never knew you. Depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.” (Matt. 7:21-23)

    I’ve had a chance to work in the yard today, Papa. Life is good when I can get outside! 🙂

    Yes, Bad, I do remember your telling me that. 😀 It’s exactly as we think, isn’t it!? But, I am learning some of us have a terrible understanding of self, due to shame-based systems, and we tend to believe all our sins are bigger and worse than anyone else’s. Not forgiving self is a terrible consequence of legalism. Some day I hope to break free of all these bonds…

    You know, I have had a slight whispering stirring in my ear these days, “You’re forgiven, you’re forgiven, you’re forgiven…” I’m working on turning up the volume to be able to hear Him more clearly. Thanks, Bad. 😉

  15. Thanks for the reminder, Michelle. Indeed, it’s easy to find excuses for our shortcomings. And we always choose what is easy.

    But it’s really freeing when we get to accept our shortcomings, our faults, for it’s only then that we can start correcting ourselves, with God’s help, of course.


  16. ‘Do you think it’s possible to enter into a state of forgiveness without repentance?’

    For us humans Sis? i’d have to say absolutely not.

    for us to feel forgiveness there must first of all have been something we felt ‘wronged’ by, else what need is there of our forgiveness?

    If we ‘try’ to forgive someone something while still feeling that the ‘wrong’ done to us ‘exists’ it is impossible for us to fully achieve that.

    One definition of the word repentence is ‘Changing one’s mind’ ( no longer believing that what we have done or the way we are is the ‘right’ way to be and changing accordingly into what we believe IS ‘right’)

    We need to change our mind concerning the ‘wrong’ – to see that the person who did ‘wrong’ to us is not the same as the ‘wrong done’ – then we are better able to truly ‘forgive’ – when we ‘repent’ and become of a different ‘mind’ concerning the situation that we saw in only one ‘way’ as being ‘wrong’.

    In order to truly forgive it is necessary to be able to ‘see’ an old wrong in a new way. This requires us to literally ‘change our mind’ ( into that of His Spirit that sees all things – not just the ones that we take most notice of personally)

    If we change our mind we will change our heart’s ‘desire’ – from that which ‘we’ love into that which He loves. From that which we ‘hate’ into that which He loves.

    We are to repent and change our minds from hate to love – in all things, forgiving those who sin against us in order that He forgive our sins against Him.

    As Jesus taught us all to Pray for in Matt 6:12

    Some( ??) 😯 of us have a very hard time changing our minds from our selfish love of self and the wrongs done to us as we first ‘saw’ them, into a love for Him and the understanding from far greater perspectives than we can grasp in our finite minds of flesh that such love generates within each of us and our bodies/Spirit..


  17. You know, Bad, I just might be hearing that voice once again…?

    Hey, Sherma! It sure can be freeing when we see that He can help us. I do think many of us live blind…not willing to look deeply for fear of what we might find. But with the Spirit’s help, it is doable.

    Hugs to you! I really enjoyed your poem on winnowing. God Bless you, too!

    You know, Love, as I was running my daughter around today I heard a sermon on the radio about forgiveness and the condition we read after the Lord’s prayer in Matthew 6:

    “For if you forgive others their sins, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, your Father will not forgive you your sins.”

    It was good to be reminded that we can do nothing to earn our salvation. It is by faith alone and a gift from God. It is not based upon anything we do, but what we believe to be True…or Who we believe to be the Way, the Truth and the Life…right?

    So what’s this condition all about? Not our relationship, we are His; but our fellowship, how we relate to Him and how He relates to us. When we hold onto unforgiveness in our hearts we are holding onto anger and resentment which can lead to hatred/grudges toward others. And the scripture lets us know He will not listen to our prayers when we coddle our sin. Which is what we do when we hold onto unforgiveness.

    I really needed to hear that sermon. 😕

  18. Hi Sis 🙂

    Just as there are many parts of the one body with many different functions, so to are we different members of the One Body.

    i hope our different functions do not cause us to misunderstand each other by only seeing things from our own perspective?

    Just as God’s Children do nothing to earn His Gift of Life we do nothing to ‘earn’ our Salvation. However just as each child, once accepting the Gift of Life, is s then ‘free’ to do whatever they see fit in their own learnings and as a result either choose to do good things with that Gift or choose to not listen to the One who gave them that Gift and just go their own way, so too are the receivers of the Gift of Salvation – the Holy Spirit within us – free to learn how to best use that Gift or to ignore it partially or completely – to their everlasting cost.

    What we all ‘do’ – whether we only follow our own (evil, hardened) ‘heart’ or learn how to do only His Will in this life determines how we will be Judged.

    is that a ‘fair’ comment?

    was that sort of what you said? 😉


  19. I’m not sure if we’re sorta sayin’ the same thing, Love. I believe we will give an account for all we have done in the flesh. But I don’t believe if our good outweighs our bad, then we’ve “earned” our salvation.

    I believe we have nothing good to give Him, except what He has urged us to do in His Spirit. I believe all who are in Christ go through the Refiner’s Fire at the Day of Judgment. And what we have done in the flesh will be burned up…but what we have done in the Spirit will be saved. And those deeds will be as gold, silver, and precious gems. (1 Corinthians 3:11-15)

    Do you think we’re saying the same thing? This can really get tedious sometimes, but I hope you’re not feeling that way about our interactions. I suppose you’d walk away if you did…huh?

    You always make me think. 😉

    ♥ U!

  20. But I don’t believe if our good outweighs our bad, then we’ve “earned” our salvation.

    Neither do i and i hope nothing i have ever said sounded like that to you, Sis.

    in case i was unclear ( i can often be when people don’t seem to see ‘eye-to-eye’ with me) 😉 i’m saying that we humans are able to turn away from the evil of the flesh and be lead by only the Good Spirit that has been gifted to us through Christ before we die, while we yet live – surrounded by a body of flesh.

    Of course, being ‘able to’ and learning exactly HOW to are not quite one and the same thing 😉

    i never find sharing my understanding or learning about the understanding of others as they see Christ and Scripture ‘tedious’. Sometimes it can feel a tad frustrating when two concepts don’t easily seem to fit together as One – but that’s part of the ‘fum’ 😉 We just need to expand our views ( if we care to) until the connection can be found that links all things.


  21. Michelle, great post.

    A meaningful scripture to me on matters like this is Jeremiah 17:9

    “ The heart is deceitful above all things,
    And desperately wicked;
    Who can know it? ”

    The scripture goes on to say that God can help us sort out our own heart from the self-deceptions we get caught in.

    I have found this admission so freeing. I had to learn that I could not trust my own heart because of all of the tlhings that had been planted in it over my life.

    But God can get ahold of us and help us sor these things through so we can build trust in what is in our own hearts.

    Blame is one of the untrustworthy things that often gets in our hearts. Denial too. Self-pity is the worst of them all in my experience.

    I am grateful to God for showing me these things in my heart. It hurt, it wasnt easy to admit, but they were there…. and still try to creep in. But He helps me with that too.



  22. I think your comment, Chaz, is great! We all need the freeing of our minds from the self-deceptions we’ve either learned, or the spiritual attacks we endure. I find myself remembering quoting scriptures during the day to keep my heart (feelings) straight.

    At times I can overcome easily, but all too often my heart gives in to the deceptions. I know that’s only human, we all have these issues, it’s denying them which I’ve found can cause the worst trouble.

    But yes, God is good and willing to guide us. Submitting to His guidance is key for me.

    Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Good to see you here.


  23. The difference between what Chaz wrote and what i am talking about above is that it seems both you and Chaz ( and all Christians i know of) are being ‘shown’ these things (of the heart, of desires, of our thoughts of our mind) IN our body of flesh and we remain there but with this ‘wisdom ‘( in a cracked and dirty container).

    it is my belief that Christ was teaching His Apostles to receive this wisdom IN Spirit and not in the body. We are to live IN spirit at all times and reject the things that are of our dirty and cracked ‘container’

    He has given us a NEW Companion that we are to learn how to live from within it and not the ‘old’ us – Every second of every day we live, while being able to see within the old body but not be lead by it or from it..

    That does not come to us as easily as the Gift of Grace. We fight against it with everything inside the ‘old’ us. 😦

    The Old Man is to be cast off. Utterly.

    We are to be ‘born’ anew. Completely.


  24. I hear you, Love. Sorry I didn’t respond before…sheer neglect on my part. 😕

    I agree with you. We are to ask God for the help to overcome our flesh. It is only by living in the Spirit that we will not carry out the deeds of the flesh. And that is very hard to do, much of the time. Especially when the temptations can be so appealing. Or, our desire to escape reality can push us to vices which can grab hold of us to our detriment (addictions).

    Addictions are very real obstacles that can keep us down if we aren’t actively pursuing God’s help to overcome. I believe we can overcome with His help. But I also know that if we fail, if we stumble, we have an Advocate with Father and He does not cast us off.

    Just as when my children fail to do what is required of them, I remain their mother. I love them even through their failures. And will continue to have a relationship with them. The fellowship may be broken if we can’t talk about the issues, but I’ll still be their mom.

    That’s probably where it sounds like, “both you and Chaz ( and all Christians i know of) are being ’shown’ these things (of the heart, of desires, of our thoughts of our mind) IN our body of flesh and we remain there but with this ‘wisdom ‘( in a cracked and dirty container).”

    Our container, this body of flesh, this earthly tent groans because we long to put on perfection…immortality…to be completely spiritual and not of the natural man anymore.

    I do believe we will struggle with this flesh as long as we live in our bodies, here in the natural world. Not that we shouldn’t run the race set before us with endurance, our eyes fixed on Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith. We will get there, but we won’t be perfect, like Him, until we see Him face to face. I was taught that sinless perfection could be obtained this side of heaven. I now believe that is a false teaching.

    Are we good? Are we saying the same thing? And even if we’re not, I can handle that too. We don’t have to agree on every point. I mean, I really never fully agree with anyone…do you? 😉

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