December 20, 2013
Lighthouse Network 2013 Newsletter
Lighthouse Network is thankful to have the privilege to bring you Stepping Stones Daily Devotional each day, sharing God’s truth with you. Our passion at Lighthouse Network is helping people live life successfully. God has given us an amazing ministry to help people find Addiction and Mental Health Treatment through the Lighthouse Network Helpline. Each year at this time we invite the Stepping Stones readers to consider partnering with us in helping to support the Lighthouse Network ministry. Please take a few minutes to read the LN Newsletter, we trust you will find it encouraging and consider partnering with us to help those struggling with addiction and mental health challenges find the help they so desperately need. Click here to read the LN Newsletter!
Well, Christmas is rapidly approaching, and for many that means a road trip, congested airports, weather delays, holding patterns, sleeping in odd beds, rushing between relatives, and stuffing ourselves with “special” foods. One part of travel that I enjoy is packing. I’m quick, well-organized, and take only what I really need. I am good with wearing the same clothes for consecutive days without a problem. My girls are efficient as well. But another person in our family, I won’t mention who she is, takes days to pack way more than she needs and has a lot of trouble getting rid of excess baggage, no matter how short and simple the trip is!
Extra baggage on a trip weighs us down, but at least it isn’t harmful unless you have a bad back. On the other hand, when it comes to our minds and hearts, it’s amazing how much extra toxic baggage we voluntarily keep jammed in our hidden compartments. Try as I may, I find that the brokenness and sin of my past is like huge stone hanging around my neck. Carrying that stone brings guilt, shame and weakness. I know and believe I have been forgiven, but at times I struggle with laying that stone down and walking away from it.
Our yesterdays hold broken and irreversible things for us. It is true that we have lost opportunities that will never return, but God can transform this destructive guilt and anxiety into constructive thoughtfulness and hope for a transforming future. Trusting God’s forgiveness is a big and difficult stretch for most, me included. It takes time to receive God’s forgiveness … to absorb the full depth and power of it … allowing it to seep into our hidden compartments.
For me, I had to work up to this huge step of trust by practicing, implementing, and applying trust in much smaller areas of life and in my relationship with God. Trusting Him when there is an illness … a flat tire … a change of plans … someone else is in charge … a deadline is moved … a random expense comes into the mix … my children need protection … I don’t feel loved or valued. Any talent can lead to a powerful skill by starting small, practicing, and then stretching it. Trust is the same way. Trusting in the power of God’s is one of the richest skills you can develop. Unpack some baggage, but pull it out of your heart with the loving hand of Jesus Christ. This is why He came to earth, to set us free from our baggage and the stone of sin.
Today, leave the broken, irreversible past in His hands, and step out into your invincible future with Him. Start by trusting Him, His agenda, promises, character, and instruction in 5 separate situations today. You probably already do this from time to time. But learn that what you are actually doing is trusting in God so you can grow this skill and finally be free from your past. Our workshops are specifically designed to help you properly unpack your toxic baggage. They make great Christmas presents for those in need. Whether you unpack your baggage or you carry it through this life is your decision, so choose well.
Dear Father God, I can easily become paralyzed with shame, guilt, and fear over my past. I have hurt You … and I know I have hurt others. I am so thankful for Your promise of forgiveness – Thank You, Lord. I ask You, Father, to help me lay down the heavy stone of my past that I have been carrying. Let me remember and be accountable for my past brokenness and sin … but let it not keep me from moving toward You with freedom. I pray in the name of the One whom You sent to remove my toxic baggage, Jesus Christ; and all God’s children say – AMEN!
But you will not leave in haste or go in flight; for the LORD will go before you, the God of Israel will be your rear guard. Isaiah 52:12
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9
I will cleanse them from all the guilt of their sin against me, and I will forgive all the guilt of their sin and rebellion against me. Jeremiah 33:8