Growing in Him After Easter by Dr. Lynnette Simm

It was thirteen years ago that a beautiful, loving, and effervescent seven-year-old daughter asked her mother to go to church. She had mentioned going to church before, but this time she really wanted to go. Little did I know that what she wanted was going to change all of our lives, especially mine. Passover, Good Friday, and Easter were holidays that I thought I knew about. As we walked into the little Black Forest Chapel church on Palm Sunday, which I didn’t even know was a sacred day, I was introduced to Jesus in a way that shattered me to my core. I was introduced to the Lamb that would take all my sins to the cross for me.

Jesus didn’t take His sacrifice lightly, and I was just learning how enormous the sacrifice was. Forgiven. I was completely forgiven because of His sacrifice. All I had to do was ask for it, and seven months later, I did. I walked down the aisle of church, into the arms of my pastor and his wife, and there they prayed with me as I accepted Jesus’s sacrifice and asked for forgiveness. I then went to my knees and confessed all my sins. That was it. Then the vail was lifted and my life began to change.

The next few months was all about me. My salvation. My therapy. My relationship with Christ. I was building a foundation that strengthened me for what I had to do next. Forgive. You see, my favorite verse was 2 Cor 5:17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, they are a new creation; the old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” But what I learned as I sat in church that Easter Sunday, was that as Jesus had forgiven me, I was to forgive others. 2 Cor 5:18-20 says, “All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he was committing to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us.”


Understanding Jesus’s sacrifices for us is paramount to our salvation and righteousness, but we must remember what is asked of us in His name, to forgive others. To share the blessing of forgiveness with each other. Now that Easter has passed and we have the glorious day of His resurrection fresh in our minds, we must not forget why He died for us. To forgive us of our sins, so that we can have a relationship with our Father God. We must move forward with His mission of forgiveness and reconciliation within ourselves, within our families, within our network of friends, and within our communities.

Begin the process of forgiving by just telling the Lord you forgive. It may seem too hard to forgive someone, but let the Lord begin the process. If you can, reach out and let someone know that they are forgiven and loved.

I know how hard it is to forgive. I know that some wounds take years to heal. The Lord will be with you as you walk each day in healing and forgiveness. It took me nearly thirty years to find the joy in forgiveness, but I got there. Day by day, I worked on my healing. Day by day, my grace and compassion grew, until one day the pain was replaced by joy. Now, don’t get me wrong, I did not forget the hurt, and I did set boundaries. However, as I began to forgive others, I became stronger in who God made me to be.

Scripture declares, that God has made us all in His image. In Jesus we see sacrifice, grace, compassion, kindness, understanding, nurturing, encouragement, forgiveness, and love, which means all of those beautiful qualities live in us too.  So, as you continue your life after Easter, remember who God made you to be. His.  

Seven Things We Should Seek (Part 7 of 7)

Seven Things We Should Seek (Part 7 of 7)

Seek a word from God.

For many years of my life, I was tuned into another channel than the one God was on. Instead my focus was on “Me” TV, “I” Witness News and As “My” World Turns. I had no idea if God was trying to speak to me or not, as all I heard was my voice drowning out the still, small voice for which the Lord is known. Maybe you’ve been there.

After I rededicated my life to Christ over twenty-five years ago, I changed the channel to a higher frequency. Now, I long for, and strain to hear a word from God. I pray daily for direct revelation, however, sometimes I have to get away to remove the noise so I can hear Him more clearly.

So I’m writing this blog from the Shalom Retreat Center in Grand Saline, Texas, about an hour and forty-five minutes from my home. “Shalom” means “peace” in Hebrew and that’s the environment the owners have created here—peaceful.

After one of the busiest ministry stretches that I can remember, I traveled to our annual Christian Women in Media Board Retreat to work, yes, but also to seek a word from God in the midst of this sanctuary designed for rest.

Yesterday morning, it happened. The Lord spoke to me during a conversation with one of my fellow board members, Susan Mead. I usually know when it’s the Holy Spirit because it’s nothing I’ve thought of before, and it comes unexpectedly.

Susan, and I were talking about higher education. She was a biology and chemistry major in college and I shared with her that biology was always my worst subject in both high school and college. I always thought it was odd that I had no aptitude for science, considering my father was a medical doctor, but then I heard, “You may not be a doctor, but I still gifted you to heal.” Healing is one of the spiritual gifts spoken about in 1 Corinthians 12. “To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit…”

God has given me a heart for both emotional and physical healing in people, but I’ve learned to only pray over someone for physical healing when the Holy Spirit tells me to do so. However the new revelation is that God is using me in a healing capacity, just like he used my earthly dad, who died before I was born. I sought a word from the Lord, and he revealed something to me that I’d never realized before.

God still speaks.

He can speak to you because His channel is one that we can all receive, especially if we tune out the distractions. Maybe you occasionally have to get away to a quiet place to focus on listening. Perhaps you have to wake up each morning an hour before everyone else opens their eyes. Whatever the case, his small, still voice is distinguishable, and it’s easy to hear if we’re tuned in.

“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me—  just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. 1I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd” (John 10:14-16).

Discovering Another Name for God

I thought I knew all the names of God like Jehovah Jireh—“the God who provides,” Jehovah Shalom—the “God of Peace,” and Jehovah Rapha—“the God who heals,” but this week I discovered another name of God in the Psalms. In Hebrew, God is also “El Nasa,” or “God forgives.” This name of God is used in Psalm 99:8 where it says, “LORD our God, you answered them; you were to Israel a forgiving God, though you punished their misdeeds.” We all know that God is a forgiving God but did you know that it’s part of his name and character to forgive? He embodies forgiveness!

So if we are created in God’s image and he forgives us for all of our waywardness, why is it so difficult for us to follow suit and forgive others?

Even our heavenly Father doesn’t stay mad forever.

Micah 7:18 says, “He does not retain his anger forever, because he delights in steadfast love.” The Hebrew word for “steadfast love” here is “hesed” and also means “unfailing love” and “loyal love.“

Is our love for others unfailing and loyal? Are we willing to forgive even the unforgiveable?

In my own life, I could not be used in ministry until I forgave those who disappointed, or betrayed me over the years. I’m sure I let my heavenly Father down countless times, yet the God who forgives, forgave me. I do not deserve this gift so who am I not to forgive others? When I finally forgave, it provided inexplicable freedom, and I learned how to see people through a loving God’s eyes. I had to realize humans make human mistakes. I had to let go of the scripts I had written for other people. Instead I pray over them and release them to God.

On this Thanksgiving weekend, let’s be thankful for forgiveness and let’s follow the standard that “El Nasa” has set for us.

 

 

Why Should We Look Back?

It’s important to occasionally reflect back to see God’s hand in your life.

I am preparing for the “Pearls of Purpose” Branding Workshop next Tuesday where I am speaking on “Communicating Your Brand.” In my presentation, I turn the clock back almost ten years, when the Lord first called me to start a ministry to help women. But what should I name it?

A name is important in branding.

I prayed, and the name “Pearls of Promise” came to me. Having emerged from my own unstable childhood thanks to the strength Christ provided, I wanted to help women overcome past and current dysfunction. I know that “Pearls of Promise” was not my idea. It was a gift from above.

Pearls are formed through eight-ten years of distress in an oyster shell. I would be dealing with women, who just like a pearl, endured years, perhaps decades of trials, and I wanted to help them to live in victory, not defeat.

I’ve had many confirmations that “Pearls of Promise” is the right name.

In Israel in 2014, a Jewish scholar told me that in the story about the Proverbs 31 woman, the verse, “A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies” was originally in the Hebrew as: “A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than pearls.” The verse was edited by the Jews because pearls were unclean, formed in ocean bottom dwellers; oysters. I thought, “Yes! That is perfect. God can take us unclean, bottom dwellers, clean us up and make something beautiful out of our lives.”

Then there was the day I was getting ready in my bathroom, an everyday task. I was putting on makeup when the Holy Spirit whispered that the acronym for Pearls of Promise was “POP.” Why I hadn’t thought of that, I don’t know. As a fatherless girl, I have always leaned on God as my Father, and this ministry, “POP” was from Him and belonged to Him.

As Pearls of Promise approaches it’s tenth birthday, we will have been a part of eight books by the end of the year, have produced almost 850 blogs, a number of magazine articles, have hosted a dozen retreats and conferences, have encouraged women at countless luncheons, retreats and events and have been interviewed on radio and television. We have also partnered with another ministry on our own radio show, “A Time to Dream,” now moving into its third year. In addition, we are now producing video blogs. All this is being done with the sole purpose of helping women (and some men) overcome difficult dysfunction and to glorify God through our work.

Psalm 77:11 says, “I will remember the deeds of the LORD; yes, I will remember your wonders of old.”

Today might be a great day to look back and recognize how far you’ve come. How has God cleaned you up and made a beautiful pearl out of your life? Will you thank Him for what he’s provided?

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Please consider attending our Pearls of Purpose Branding Workshop (In Partnership with A-GO Strategy) next Tuesday, August 7th in Irving, Texas. At this workshop we will:

•    Build your brand

•    Validate your career direction

•    Confirm your life’s direction

•    Create a mission statement

•    Confirm your unique gifts

•    Cast a vision for where you are going

•    Improve your social media skills on LinkedIn

•    Clearly communicate your brand with purpose and passion

Sign up today and receive a 50% discount using the promo code “Pearls.” https://www.eventbrite.com/e/pearls-of-purpose-workshop-personal-professional-branding-tickets-46500157222?aff=ebdssbdestsearch

 

 

 

Four Things God Renews (Part 4)

#4 Creation

I think about creation a lot when I’m at my relative’s lake house near Coldwater, Michigan. Late in the day, boaters have retired for the night and the waves have calmed down to a gentle ripple, set in motion by the cool breeze hitting the water.

As I watch the native birds taking in their evening meal before settling down for their night’s rest, I once again realize that God’s creation is beautiful, and I’m a fan.

But it’s not perfect. Not yet anyway.

Earlier today, while playing golf, I could hear a growling animal near one of the tee boxes in the middle of the course. Whatever it was, it was not happy that we came close to it’s brushy home. I wanted to hit my shot and get out of there before it bolted from the bushes!

But one day, we won’t have to worry about wild beasts. Scripture says, “The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them” (Isaiah 11:6). Children won’t need stuffed animals anymore. They will be able to pet the grizzlies, hang out with the zebras and ride the leopards.

Creation will be renewed and take on a whole new look.

Like the animals, we will also be different once the sound of a trumpet ushers in eternity.

When Jesus returns, Christians will either meet him in the air or we will rise from the grave and be reunited with our spirit.

1 Corinthians 15:52 says this will all happen in the twinkling of an eye and our bodies will become imperishable. 1 Corinthians 2:9 says, “No eye has seen, no human mind conceived what God has prepared for those who love him.” In other words, we can’t wrap our brains around how transformed and wonderful eternity will be, but the Bible gives us previews.

According to Revelation 21:4, God will wipe away our tears. Wouldn’t it be great to never be sad again? There will be no more death, which must mean no more sickness, no more mourning and no more pain. Cancer will be gone, heart attacks eliminated, diabetes defeated and we won’t need any more anti-aging cream. Doctors will be out of business and given a new job in eternity. We will have indestructible bodies with no return policy required.

Sign me up!

As I get older, a redeemed creation sounds better and better, and I am thankful that one day we will all experience this amazing change. I look forward to living in peace and harmony with the rest of the created beings.

After all, I’ve always wanted a pet lion.

 

 

 

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