Do well

Some would say I wear my emotions on my sleeve. I can't deny my emotions even that much. I simply wear them on my face. I can't lie or mask what I'm feeling. I've come to view this as a  blessing. But, frustrated this week, I went beyond wearing them on my face; I totally vented. I still don't really know the root of the marital issue. However, I was feeling disconnected, separate, and not enjoying his company. My whole demeanor long-faced, feeling hopeless, I stumbled upon some notes I had taken from Victory over Darkness a year ago. It drew my attention to Genesis 4:4-7.
 4 and Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat portions. And the LORD had regard for Abel and his offering, 5 but for Cain and his offering he had no regard. So Cain was very angry, and his face fell. 6 The LORD said to Cain, "Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? 7 If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it." 
God clearly says to Cain, you can't feel your way into good behavior. You behave your way into good feelings. Is this what I've been missing in the busyness of summer schedules?
The ESV translates countenance as face. Cain clearly, like me, wore his emotions on his face, the outside of his body, not bottling it. But God who sees all, inside and out, takes note of Cain's outward appearance. His face which is obviously a reflection of his heart.
I think the punch is packed in verse 7. God tells Cain to do well. Actually in the Hebrew, God uses this word two times. This must be important. This word means to be good, pleasing, well, glad, joyful, rejoice, deal well with, do thoroughly, to make a thing good, right or beautiful. Sounds like a call to action. And yet, now I sit, sulking. Not much different than Cain.
"And if…" God says. Clearly, God is reminding Cain he has a choice: do good or sulk.
If Cain chooses to sulk, Satan crouches at the door. Satan wants nothing more than to bring men and women down. He's sneaky and waits at the door, waiting for an entrance. Like a cat that makes a v-line into the house the second the front door is opened. And in these moments of dejection, sulking, Satan knows we are weak. He sees the door cracked open and he'll weasel his way right in. Satan knows our points of vulnerability. He's a sneaky, creep.
…Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. 1 Peter 5:8-9
God commands Cain to master or rule over the sin. I really think this can't be done outside of the Holy Spirit ruling in the life of a believer. Only then can the power of sin be defeated.
Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. 1 John 4:4
For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world--our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? 1 John 5:4-5
We know the rest of the story in verse 8:
Cain told Abel his brother. And it came about when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him.
I have a choice: good actions or stewing over the negative. Cain choose to let sin referee his life. I can't feel my way into good behavior. I behave my way into good feelings. This is a conscious choice. I'm feeling crumby about my marriage today. I could sulk and feel miserable all day. Or do something that I enjoy or set to work enjoying the feeling of accomplishment. Emotions are real, but they can't be trusted. I must choose to do well.
You must constantly be checking yourself and asking, "Who's ruling in my heart?" Invite the Holy Spirit to rule, direct and influence all of you. Then do well.


I love invitations. Beyond the graphically creativity, it's so exciting to get invited; to think the host values your presence at the event.
This week, I was pondering a bit more about the peace of God ruling in my heart and how I need to invite Him there.
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which you were called in one body…Colossians 3:15a
When we ask Christ to rule in our hearts, He will. No need to wait on a RSVP. However, my revelation is if we don't ask the Spirit to influence and rule our lives, sin will rule my life. Sin or Satan need no invitation. Sin imposes and influences when we are not intentionally choosing to invite the Spirit to rule. My lack of action or invitation results in sin dictating my thoughts, feeling, emotions and whole being. Satan is a slithering, sneaky little snake.
And pondering what have I let control me in recent past is humbling. Sin takes many forms: personality bent (pleasing, bossy, controlling…), emotions, addictions (food, alcohol, drugs, sex, power…), people and even insecurities that become idols. This one I totally overlooked! Nearly my entire life, I have been so insecure in regards to my physical appearance that I didn't realize that it has controlled me.
It's evident that we need to constantly analyze our hearts and ask ourselves, Who's ruling or controlling me right now? If it is not the Spirit, then we need to practice the ART of confession then ask His Spirit to control us.
Even if you don't feel differently, know that He is ruling according to faith in His command and promise. God commands us to be filled or controlled by His Spirit:
"Don't be influenced by wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be influenced by the Holy Spirit." Ephesians 5:18
God's promise is that He hears and gives us anything we ask for that aligns with His will:
"And this is the confidence that we have toward Him, that if we ask anything according to His will He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of Him." 1 John 5:14-15
Reflecting on the past six month or year, what has been controlling you? Choose right now to practice the ART of confession and invite the Holy Spirit to rule your life. No need to await His RSVP, He's been waiting for the invitation.


"She won't listen to me mom! I want to apologize but she won't listen!"
How many times have I heard this? The golden heads, needing forgiveness from each other, begging, pleading with the offended, trying to rectify the wrong.
How many times have I done this myself with God? Recently, I realized how messed up that is: pleading with God for forgiveness. I'm already forgiven.
For our sake (God) made (Christ) to be sin. Who knew no sin, so that in (Christ) we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:21
On a quick study of Hebrews chapters nine and ten, I counted five times the writer says "once for all" or "for all time."
(Christ) entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of His own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption. Hebrews 9:12
..But as it is, He has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. Hebrews 9:26
And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jeus Christ once for all. Hebrews 10:10
But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, He sat down at the right hand of God.. Hebrews 10:12
For by a single offering He has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified. Hebrews 10:14
Get it? Christ BECAME our sin, and our sin was crucified on the cross so that God's need for justice was satisfied.
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
However, heavy is the word confession. As we look to Psalm 51, I think you will agree that confession is for our benefit. David confesses his adultery with Bathsheba. "For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight…" (vv. 3-4a). David admits his wrong doing.
"Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me," (v. 10). Broken, David decides to turn from sin to God. A.W. Tozer gave us the image of a coin. One side of the coin is sin, the other God or righteousness. We can't look at both sides of the same time. We must choose to turn tails on sin and head toward God. This is the choice David has made in Psalm 51: repentance.
"..and my tongue will wing aloud of your righteousness. O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise," (vv. 14-15). David is thanking and praising God for forgiveness.
I like to recall this acrostic the ART of confession.
And then in Psalm 32, David contrasts confession with the pride of not confessing.
Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered,
Blessed is the man against whom the LORD counts no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is not deceit. Psalm 32:1-2
For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as the that of summer. Ps 32:3-4
David admits his sin (v.3, "I acknowledged my sin to you"), repents and is forgiven (v.3, "and You forgave the iniquity of my sin,"). There is no need to beg and plead for forgiveness as the golden heads plead with their sisters, or we beg forgiveness to those we have offended. We've already been forgiven, we just need to admit, head toward God and thank Him for His forgiveness.
Pray Psalm 139:23-24 and let God reveal any sin in your life.
Search me, O God, and know my heart!
Try me and know my thoughts!
And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting! Psalm 139:23-24
Practice the ART of confession. No need to beg and plead. Rather admit, repent and thank Him!


Tears welling up in her eyes, the calculating one stares at me with betrayal. "I'm so sorry honey, this is not how mommy wanted this day to look either, but you have to be brave and do this yourself right now." Dashing out the door to play practice, I couldn't find the keys. Assuming both pairs were in the car with the engineer at work, neighbor Stephanie saved the day, but needed her car back in 20 minutes: ten minutes to get there and ten to return left no escort service into the first day of practice. As we rushed home, I prayed, "God, I don't understand why this day couldn't have looked more smooth, polished and beautiful." And in my heart, I know His reply, This is My will for you; nothing happens outside My plan. So aloud, I echo, "Yet, this is Your will for me. What in the world do you want me to learn from this?"
Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only in my presence, but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. Philippians 2:12-13
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28
We must accept every circumstance as God's will for us; as His tool to refine me, teach me, train me and make me more holy. It is my will that I need to bend toward His.
Sometimes circumstances are funny and simply embarrassing. Without the sugar coating, they can be hard, almost impossible: death. Or difficult: When miles separate you from someone who needs you, choosing to respond in anger (sin) to other's perceived sin, assigned a task without all the tools, last minute changes... This is when we need to choose to lay ourselves down, to be like Christ: humble, submissive, self-surrendered.
After thanking Stephanie for the use of her car, with two remaining goldenheads in tow, we returned home to resume laundry. There sitting on the dryer, was the set of keys I assumed were in the engineer's car. Ah...humility and stopping. That's what I needed taught. I needed to come clean with my girls, Stephanie and the engineer. I needed to stop trying to get things done so quickly. I made the mistake. I did something totally stupid. Me. No one else. And even though we laugh about it now, sometimes the little, silly instances remind and encourage us amidst the big, tough stuff.
Next time your circumstances don't align with your plan, pray. Accept that is is God's will for you and ask what He wants to accomplish or teach you through this seeming curve ball.


Empty egg shells scatter the ground each spring. Unless the egg hatches, the baby bird isn't realized. It can't become what God created it to become until the shell breaks.
I've been enjoying, The Calvary Road by Roy Hession the last few weeks. A fairly easy read, its thought provoking messages teach me. Among others, the theme of brokeness prevails. "Brokenness in daily experience is simply the response of humility to the conviction of God," (p. 23). It's contemplative essays have really caused me to thoroughly examine my heart consistently. And if my heart is not at peace, then sin is prevailing. As I wrote last week, this means sin is on the throne of my heart.
Let the peace of God rule in your hearts. Colossians 3:15
The word rule in this verse is where we get our word referee. Just as a referee blows a whistle when a foul is committed, my restless heart means there is sin lurking within; a foul has been made.
This began changing my quiet times, but now even my moments throughout the day. If I find myself irritable, I stop and ask, Why is there no peace in my heart? Often, I find that I respond in sin when others ruffle my feathers; everything that disturbs our relationships comes between us & God. In respond to other's sin, I sin; we don't loose peace with God over another person's sin, only our own. Defensiveness of the engineer suggesting I concentrated the weed killer a little too much; self-righteousness.
Or pride. At bedtime last week, the compassionate one began reading the Psalms on her own, reading a verse I had shared just prior in the day at breakfast. "Mommy, you are amazing!" Finally, someone gives me credit for all the time I spend studying and memorizing Scripture. And the next morning, I feel awful: Pride.
..God is light and in Him is no darkness at all…If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. 1 John 1:5b, 7
But when anything is exposesd by the light, it becomes visible. Ephesians 5:13
You see, when I walk with God, He will show me my sin. He will break me and expose the reason the referee has blown the whistle. When I confess my sin and turn to God, the Holy Spirit is again on the throne of my life. Peace is ruling. Like the baby bird in its shell, only when I am broken can I become all He has planned for me.
As you go through your day, ask yourself if you are at peace. If so, keep walking with Him with the Holy Spirit on the throne of your life. If not, it's time to get dirty, pull up the sleeves and crack the shell.