Your repentance is because of your relationship with God, not others

me and Ray, Branson marriage retreat
me and Ray, Branson marriage retreat

When Ray and I attended Roger and Laureen Traver‘s Mountain Top Marriage Retreat in Branson, MO, recently, one of the things they encouraged the married couples to do was to renounce spiritual strongholds, to pull strongholds down through the Word of God, and to repent of sin asking God (and others we sinned against) for forgiveness.

From the very beginning, there was the blame game. Adam blamed Eve for his sin, Eve blamed the serpent, and Satan (in the form of the serpent) just laughed, mocking and defying God.

God has the last laugh (“He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord holds them in derision.” – Psalm 2:4, ESV), and Satan will soon burn in the lake of fire, being tormented day and night forever. (Revelation 20:10)

 Instead of blame and justification, we have to repent. The original Greek word for repent is the verb metanoeo, which means to change one’s mind or purpose – to change the inner man (particularly with reference to acceptance of the will of God. Source: BibleHub.com)

So often, we don’t want to repent. We’d rather justify our sin, blame someone else, and then we’re stuck spiritually. This is especially true between a husband and a wife.

In Psalm 51, David was confronted by Nathan the prophet, when he had the affair with Bathseba, another man’s wife. In this Psalm, David is asking God for mercy and forgiveness. 

“For I acknowledge my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. Against You, and You only have I sinned, and done this evil in Your sight.” (Psalm 51:3-4)

The footnote in the New Spirit-Filled Life Bible says:

“This is quoted in Romans 3:4 to show the righteousness of God in all His ways. This does not mean that David’s sins did not offend others. It is God’s holy nature that makes sin identifiable and accountable, so sin is first and foremost against God. Even when we attempt to rationalize our “right” to sin against others, there exists no right to sin against God.

God is holy, and we as His people are to be holy, too. (1 Peter 1:16)

The next time you want to justify your sin that does affect your spouse, remember that your sin is first and foremost against God, and you don’t have a right to sin against Him.

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Once you are real

This week a friend/business peer asked me what readers’ response has been to my new book, Promises In The Dark: One Woman’s Search for Authentic Love – and if I was okay.

I told her the response has varied, and yes, I am okay. I wrote my sister Maria a letter last night, and told her that I actually feel more liberated. No hiding. No secrets. The truth sets you free. (John 8:32)

Some readers, viewing it pre-book launch, said it is beautifully written, powerful, raw, triumphant. Some friends, after reading it, are shocked, not knowing I had been through some of the painful things I’d experienced -or sinned to the degree that I have.

Other readers are uncomfortable, because I’m so open and truthful in it. Some people can’t handle that much transparency.

A couple of friends have questioned me writing it, asking me won’t sharing my sinful past like this (abortions, adulterous affairs) hurt my husband Ray and our children.

Our family
Me, Ray, and our 3 beautiful daughters Heather (far left), Leah (middle), and Eden (far right)

My response to that is I’ve been very open with Ray and our 3 beautiful daughters. They already know about my past. I’ve used it as an object lesson of what NOT to do. “You follow Me,” Jesus told Peter in John 21:22.

Being real is risky and scary.

It takes you way out of your comfort zone. 

It may mean losing friends, fans and followers, and support.

It may mean being criticized and judged.

But I believe God told me to write this book…and I obeyed.  I thank God for His Unconditional Love and Forgiveness, for His grace and mercy upon me.

For those who read it and decide to judge me, I refer to a quote in The Velveteen Rabbit  story.

“Once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.” – The Skin Horse from The Velveteen Rabbit, Margery Williams

You can find out more about the Book and the Ebook by clicking here.

Promises In The Dark: One Woman's Search for Authentic Love
Promises In The Dark: One Woman’s Search
for Authentic Love by Beth Jones
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Are you just a spectator?

Are you just a spectator?
Spectators at football game
Spectators at football game. Image Resource: www.freedigitalphotos.com

Today as I scrolled through my Facebook newsfeed, to my surprise I saw that a speaker friend was on a radio show again. She had just done a show, and now here she was again in the limelight! I don’t think I’m alone when I say that sometimes I feel speaker’s (or writer’s) envy.

When I looked deeper inside of my heart past the envy, I realized that sometimes I feel like a spectator…someone who is observing others’ exciting, fun, wonderful, prosperous lives, and feeling left out. Yep, left in the dust.  Do you ever feel that way?

To nip it in the bud, I immediately texted her and told her how I felt. And I repented to God. Because envy is a sin. Envy trips us up. It gets our eyes off Jesus and onto others and self.

Envy is not good, but it can motivate you to be and to do more. Yet the deeper, root issue here at stake lay in this thought: I feel like a spectator. Like my life is passing me by. Like I’m not really doing anything important.

Like I don’t really matter. Like I’m not good enough – ever.

Ah. That goes way back when.

Back to my childhood traumatic abuse. Feelings of worthlessness. Feelings of shame.

Hadn’t God already healed all that junk?

I’m such a different person now than I used to be! Family and friends can attest to the amazing change and miraculous emotional healing God has done in my life.

I’d spent 5 years in Christian counseling in my late 20’s and early 30’s combing through painful memories, feelings of rejection and hurt, crying a lot, eating very little, not sleeping all night, taking long walks at the park, feeding the ducks with my daughter Heather when I was mad or anxious or upset, using therapeutic art and intense journaling, talking, talking, and talking more with my counselor each week about how awful my childhood and life really were and would I ever feel happy and fulfilled and get over it?

My therapist was so patient. How did he ever put up with me?

Eventually I didn’t need therapy any more. Over time, the black, suicidal depression lifted. I no longer had panic attacks and agoraphobia. The nightmares were becoming much less frequent. I started enjoying eating (maybe too much!). I broke out of intense shyness and began caring more for others instead of just myself. I smiled and laughed, and made friends. I began going to social functions, enjoying myself and reaching out to others.

I married a Godly man who loved me and Heather. I began sharing my testimony. I earned a B.A. seminary degree in Christian Psychology. Went to professional writers’ and speakers’ training. I started an online business for my speaking and books, networked on social media, and made friends online.

Then I stepped into my purpose, speaking, writing, and coaching, using my gifts to glorify Jesus. I began teaching other women, imparting to them what God had done in my life. I’m now beginning to fulfill my lifelong dreams.

Yet…yet…despite the healing and me being an overcomer through Christ, here was that hideous, green-eyed thing again. Envy. And feeling less than. Not good enough.

Would it always raise its ugly head my whole life?

Today I found this great article that helped me put things in perspective: It’s not about me! And I need to live for an audience of One – God! (The article is 5 Ways To Stop Envy Before It Starts)

And I realized I could never fully become who God created me to be by looking at anyone other than Jesus.

I was made in HIS IMAGE. Not my friend’s. Not my own. Not anyone’s but GOD’s!

Then I set to work today. I revised my Speaker One Sheet. Printed out copies to take to women’s ministry leaders this week for potential speaking engagements. You can find it by scrolling down on my Speaking page to where it says, Beth Jones’ One Sheet. Just click on that link.

I wrote this blog, Are You Just a Spectator?

I took a breath. Went outside to feel the sun on my face and the refreshing wind. I’m alive.

I  do feel genuinely happy for my speaker friend. Yay for her! I celebrate all God’s doing in her life. She truly inspires me.

Then today I remembered I have a speaking engagement in October with other speakers. And I have an amazing opportunity to speak at 2 women’s conferences in Kenya in December 2013. You can find out more about that by clicking here – please prayerfully consisder supporting me.

God is at work in my life! I am doing important work! I celebrate all God has done in my life, too.No, I’m not my friend. I’m not other women. I’m me. That’s all I have to be – who God made me to be.

I don’t need to compare myself to others or feel envious, or less than.

Suddenly  I realized that I have so much to be grateful for. Thank you, God, for my blessings and all You’ve bestowed upon me. Forgive my ingratitude and self-centered thinking. Thank you for the wonderful opportunities you have given me!

I’m right where God wants me to be. His timing for all things is perfect. So are you! He makes everything beautiful in its time.

I don’t want to be just a spectator looking at others run to win the prize. I want to be and do all God wants me to do and to be. What about you?

God, help us to live our lives pleasing YOU! Not spectators. But involved and engaged in your Kingdom work here on earth. Fulfilling YOUR purpose for our lives.

I am worthy. I am important – to God. God proved this to me by Jesus dying on the cross. God did the same for you!

He has a great plan for my life – and yours. (Jeremiah 29:11)

We are not spectators.

*******

Have you ever struggled with envy? What did you do to overcome it? Leave your comments below.

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