Neisha-Ann Thompson, Ph.D

"Give me a Word to sustain the weary; awaken my ear to listen." - Isaiah 50:4

Tag: forgiveness

Dear Whole Me

Many times in life we get stuck on what happened “back then”. We regurgitate our painful life circumstances so much, that we end up identifying with our condition –broken. But today, I wanted to write a letter to the me that’s no longer broken; to the methat’s no longer identified by the what, but the Who. In my brokenness, the question was always, “What happened to you?” But today, I want to highlight Who happened to me. This is my Dear Whole Me letter..

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Dear Whole Me,

It’s been a journey to get to this point and even though you haven’t fully arrived, I just want to pause here to celebrate your growth and development. Who would’ve guessed that God would’ve trusted you with so much pain… and with the ministries that have been birthed as a result of ruin? But you’ve learned through the process that, ruin is the road to transformation. You’ve learned to let go and trust God to do the renovation, which sometimes involved demolition, in your life. Romans 8:28 is a personal note from God to you and you’ve basked in that blessed assurance when adversity and calamity have threatened your walk and sanity. Like Job, the thing you feared the most happened (Job 3:25), but you never had to face any of it alone. You were like the woman dragged naked into the streets (John 8). But, Jehovah Nissi (your banner… The God who covers you) stood right beside you and covered your nakedness with Grace, until all your accusers eventually dropped their stones and fled.

You are loved immeasurably by God! He has shown you time and time again how mindful He is of you and how attentive He is to your needs and your heart. You areHis! That reality has kept you in the darkest of seasons. That reality continues to keep you right now. And regardless of what naysayers, accusers, and stone throwers have said and will say, you are Forgiven and Loved.

The transition from religion to relationship has been life-altering. Who would’ve thought you’d ever have such an intimate relationship with the Lover of your soul? Andnone of it would be possible today had you not experienced the hell you had to go through to get to this point. When you did not know which way was “out”, God Himself stepped into your situation and became your exit (John 10:9). He delivered you through the breaking! With you, God squeezed Whole out of Broken. You’re a miracle.

My word of encouragement to you is to stay in God’s crucible – His hand is on the thermostat and His eye is on the clock! Endure the fiery process; you’re being refined and perfected. I promise you that when you come through all this, you will come forth as pure gold. Everything that you have gone through was part of a Predestined Purpose that is leading to the Pre-Prepared Promise. Continue to let the Word of God settle your heart and settle EVERY matter in your life. Don’t sweat the one that tries to rise up against you, condemn, and accuse you… God has already shown you that He will be your defense attorney, jury, advocate, and judge. By His grace and through His blood you are – Approved by Him!

I love you.

[I encourage you to write a “Dear Whole Me” letter to yourself today. The reality is that you have endured some painful seasons in your life, but God has kept you through them all! You’re here today only because of Him. Celebrate the work He’s yet doing in your life, knowing that “He who has begun a good work in you, will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ!” – Philippians 1:6]

YIC,
Neisha

Resources: http://www.amazon.com/Moving-From-Religion-Relationship-Spiritual/dp/150245744X

Chastised Peace

“But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him and with His stripes we are healed.” – Isaiah 53:5.

While meditating on Isaiah 53 this morning, this verse and particular line resonated with me. I pondered the notion of peace being chastised. Peace, by its very definition means tranquility or freedom from disturbance; while chastisement means punishment. Why would Christ be punished because of and for our peace? Well, two thoughts came to mind and although this understanding is fresh for me, it has already given life to my spirit.

The first thought is the fact that Christ bore ALL our sins – including the sin of contentment with sinful habits and practices. Contentment is synonymous with peace. It is quite possible to feel “peaceful” when doing something wrong, if you feel no accompanying conviction. After all, the scripture says, there is a way that SEEMS right to a man, but this way ultimately leads to death and destruction (Proverbs 14:12; 16:25). So “the chastisement of our peace was upon Him” speaks to the fact that Christ was punished because of our peaceful contentment with sin – those things that we continue to engage in with no remorse or conviction, or despite our convictions.

The second thought comes from the Garden of Eden, where we first lost our righteous peace. You see, when Adam and Eve were created, they were built with a default character setting that included all 9 fruit of the spirit (ref. Galatians 5:22-23). They were created perfectly in God’s own image. Because of sin’s influence, a PIECE of fruit cost them their PEACE. And I wonder today, how much peace we continue to forfeit… just to have a piece of whatever our “fruit” is? So, Christ was not only chastised because of our peace (i.e. our peaceful contentment with sin), He was also chastised for our peace. Meaning, He bore stripes (beatings) so we could experience righteous peace again. The righteous peace that was originally a part of our salvation package, has now been reset as our default setting.

Recognizing now that Jesus was punished because of your peace and for your peace, what will your response be to Him? The Word of God says that if we have received the wonderful gift of Christ’s sacrifice for us and we turn away from it or reject it, it is like we “crucify Him afresh and openly shame Him” (Hebrews 6:4-6). And we all have a sense of what that feels like – to make sacrifices for the people we love, only to have them in turn become rejecting, neglecting, or even dismissive towards us at times. It causes great hurt and shame, which is exacerbated if we sense that they either don’t care that they’re hurting us or are nonchalant in their response to our pain. Situations like this indicate that even in the natural there’s a point where someone else’s “peace” can sometimes feel like chastisement to you. Imagine what Christ must have felt.

I challenge us today to do a heart-evaluation:

1. What area(s) of your life have you become “peacefully content” with, despite it being dishonoring to God?
2. What was it that you had a piece of (i.e. engaged in) that has consequently affected your peace?
3. Have you rejected the message behind the chastisement that Christ endured because of your peace and for your peace?

Let’s endeavor today, and as we transition into a new year, not to crucify Christ afresh by our actions. Once was enough. Let’s claim the righteous peace that Blood was shed for us to have, and let us in turn share that peace with others.

YIC,
Neisha

Hiding: From cover to Cover

The game of hide-and-seek originated in the garden of Eden. It involved two people hiding from a God who sought after them. Their approach to hiding involved two aspects, which are still quite common today.

Firstly, they ran for cover (i.e. a physical place to hide). I cannot imagine Adam and Eve standing in the middle of the garden in open view, considering the sin they just committed. No, they found a place to hide – behind a tree, a rock, in the bushes, somewhere. Quite similar to what we do today. When we’ve sinned or feel guilt/shame for an act we’ve committed or a mistake we’ve made, we literally remove ourselves from certain places – we go into hiding. We may refrain from attending church or other gatherings with people who know us and have high expectations of us, and from those who would hold us accountable. Some of us go deep into hiding, confining ourselves to our homes, rooms, closets, etc. It is no different from what Adam and Eve did.

Secondly, they not only ran FOR cover but they tried TO cover their sins (i.e. not wanting their sins to be exposed). In their day they used leaves and figs…. in present day we use different masks, relationships, false witnesses, lies, church (and other) positions, defense mechanisms, and a plethora of wrong/harmful practices. The motive is still the same though – to cover up or hide our sin.

Despite our modern day take on hide-and-seek, the “game” initiated in the garden of Eden continues today. Same script, different cast. We’re still sinners hiding from a God who continues to seek us, to reason with us despite all we’ve done (Isaiah 1:18). You see, we’ve given up our original Covering and have instead tried to find other covers for our sins. We blew off His Cover, and in order to find us He now has to blow ours!

We often don’t like the process of “being found” or in present day terminology “being found out”, because it involves exposure. We’ve become so accustomed to hiding in dark places that the Light is almost blinding. We consider this process painful…. oblivious to the fact that more damage could be done to us if we remained in the dark. Fact of the matter is, hiding from God is like standing behind transparent glass and foolishly hoping not to be seen (Psalm 139:7-12). You see, God’s love is a love that cannot operate in dissimulation. It BLOWS our cover so He can BE our Cover! His ultimate aim is our protection.

The question today is, which would you rather: Having the mask ripped from your face so you can finally breathe, or continuing to suffocate under the guise of having it all together? Would you rather stay hidden in the darkness of condemnation, or step into the Light of God’s love and grace? Do you want the tedious job of having to hide all the time… changing places and faces, or would you rather have your sins be hidden for you and completely annulled? Do you want to continue living a lie, or are you ready to embrace truth? The choice seems pretty clear to me.

So, my brothers and sisters (in my King James Version voice), here’s the conclusion of the whole matter — Although we ditched our Covering to hide under covers that really don’t cover, if we’re willing to blow this temporary cover we’ll have the opportunity to be eternally covered by The Ultimate Coverer!

[cues organ]
Is there one?

YIC,
Neisha

© 2020 Neisha-Ann Thompson, Ph.D

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