Guilt drives us to a shame that paralyzes. Godly conviction leads to freedom-giving life change. The accuser, our adversary the devil, is always watching, waiting for when we mess up, ready to hurl his fiery arrows, like, "You blew it. God's angry at you now. What kind of Christian are you?"
But Jesus has a different Word for us, a word He's constantly whispering to our weary, wayward hearts. Today's guest blogger and novelist Brandy Heineman heard
that whisper, but she also heard the accusing lies. Which voice would she give ear to?
|Photo credit: Copyright Emilie Hendryx of|
E. A. Creative Photography, 2014
The Best I Could Hope For by Brandy Heineman
There are lots of things worse than becoming a snot-sobby mess in church . . . like the sting of holy conviction, or more specifically, being out in public when your cheeks flood with heat, your bones turn to ice, and you know beyond the shadow of a doubt that you are In Trouble. I figured God was going to, as we say here in the south, take me behind the woodshed. A stern talking-to was the best I could hope for, and the worst? Well, in that case the tissue I tucked in my purse wouldn’t be much help.
My big confession? I’d barely shown my face at church for months. Months.
This might not seem like a big sin, but it was personal. I’d been feeling my need to be there. To worship. To listen to sound doctrine. To reestablish waning connections to my church family. But in spite of my need, there was always something. Little stuff, never anything that would have kept an obedient heart away.
Good thing I made it back when I did. I’d evidently forgotten all about God’s goodness and grace and mercy.
As the service started, we celebrated our graduating seniors. My heart sang as two of the kids who had become special to me through VBS and Wednesday night children’s ministry—years ago!—marched across the stage dressed in their graduation garb. As we prayed, I teared up all right, but not for the reasons I expected.
Then the worship team took over. A wonderfully gifted friend of mine led us in singing “Let It Be Jesus.” Such a powerful song in its own right, but I can’t describe to you how beautiful this
woman’s voice is. Worship is not about my pleasure and all about His, but I know joyful
worship pleases the heart of God.
|Photo by ValeriaRodrigues taken from Pixabay.com|
Next came the sermon. Our pastor urged us not to believe the accuser’s lies. As a first-time author at a scary new milestone in my career, that was the word I needed to hear. In fact, several points targeted straight for my needy heart. How many others there that day received a custom-fit message? And how amazing is it that the Holy Spirit can and does speak to us as individuals?
Before we closed, they played a video. Imagine my delight when a missionary couple God placed on my heart for consistent prayer over the past year appeared on the overhead screen. They shared about their ministry, and when they came down the aisle, our congregation prayed a commissioning prayer over them for their journey into a full-time mission to Honduras. After a year of praying for them, I got to wish them well in person.
Our Father knows how to give good gifts to His kids. It’s amazing what Jesus has for us when we show up—not just at church, but at the table He sets in our own hearts. He poured out gifts to me that morning. Personal ones that met me at my brokenness and yet reaffirmed how connected we are to one another in the Body of Christ. When I finally made it back to His house, I expected an angry God. The best I had hoped for was chastisement. Instead, He reminded me that His presence is the only place I want to be.
BRANDY HEINEMAN writes dual timeframe novels from a Christian worldview, including herWhispers in the Branches (Elk Lake Publishing, 2015). She is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers and an alumna of Wesleyan College. She and her husband, Michael, reside in metro Atlanta. Find her online at brandyheineman.com.
Let's talk about this! In what ways does the accuser, Satan, try to bring you down and keep you from God? For Brandy, he used the fear of punishment, making her believe God was angry with her. For me, Satan will whisper lies of defeat or discouragement. The sooner we learn to recognize his lies, the sooner we can become victorious over them. How do we know the difference? God always draws us to Himself and toward freedom; Satan's tactics push us from God. Share your experiences and your victories with us. We can all learn from one another!
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