Tag Archives: Guilty

Bold as a lion

Warnings and Instructions

Proverbs 28; I die daily devotional.

1 The wicked flee when no one is pursuing, But the righteous are bold as a lion.

After reading the commentary for this verse provided in our resource, I appreciated the connection between the wicked flee when no one is pursuing, and guilt.

"Guilt in the conscience makes men a terror to themselves, so that they are ready to flee when none pursues; like one that absconds for debt, who thinks every one he meets a bailiff."—Matthew Henry

As I meditate on this verse and commentary, think to myself, “how does it apply to me.” In my head this exercise works, but now, how to articulate it into writing where it makes sense? That’s quite the psychological exercise because it’s no longer about me, but the relationships between: God, the author to this proverb, Matthew Henry (17th/18th century biblical commentator), myself, and you. However, I’ve already hinted at the focus, “How does this apply to us?” And a deluded paranoia comes over me by the thought that I’ve done something so terribly wrong that it’s impossible for me to be forgiven and reconciled to a holy God.

“Why is that—” I ask myself, and then remember my guilt. I remember how I was sexually abused. I remember how I was physically abused; psychologically abused; spiritually abused. But then I also remember how all that abuse—much like a virus invading cells—invaded to reprogram my psyche, and a lot of what happened to me convinced me of a different identity. I’d become the virus. I’m guilty! So now that the virus has successfully reprogrammed me, I flee. I make excuse after excuse to avoid the truth because the truth is pursuing me. … Is it?

BOLD AS A LION

It’s time to face the virus. I won’t forget my wife Laura in agreement to the encouragement of our friends, “go to this ‘re:generation‘ program” that my church provides, which is basically like going to A.A. meetings, but on steroids—so I thought. Okay maybe not steroids, but I think you get the point. I also won’t forget how Laura decided to go along with me as though she didn’t need it, and well—I’ll let her tell you that story—because that woman was dead wrong up-in-dis-house. As soon as we arrived at our first meeting, we’re separated (women with women and men with men), it felt sketchy the first couple of sessions, but it was a safe place. After I’d “graduated” the first six weeks, I was given a dedicated group of other adult men with issues all across the spectrum. It came about after 5 months in, all that testosterone was like a bomb going off and we all killed each other! I’m ghostwriting you right now… Are you paying attention? These guys dumped all their heavy weight of sin on the floor to watch it burn—because nothing can separate us from the love of Christ.

Romans 8:38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

To continue in our guilt is to continue in our very … insecurely … wicked behavior, that virus of sin—that does separate us from God. This is why the Word of God is preached and the gospel available to believe because it’s a miracle. You are a miracle! Yes, you could give me reasons to prove against that fact; it only makes sense, when we feel convicted by whatever sin separates us from God. And you might say to me, “But Nathan, you don’t understand what I’ve done! You don’t know the skeletons in my closet!” and you’d be right, but I can tell you this! Nor-do-you-mine! And if I’m here preaching a victory over my sin to you, do you dare challenge the validity of the Lion in me? Because shoot… bear with me another mile, and let me tell about this gospel!

It wasn’t a Lion that conquered the sin in you, but a Lamb. The Lamb of God—given as the sacrifice to atone for not only the “virus” of your enemies if their faith reveal it so, but for you, your sin. And if God were to have it be that your enemies be turned back to Him even after the injustice done against you, who are you oh man to talk back to the Lion of God—Jesus Christ. Is it not righteous to hope for those guilty of injustice to experience remorse, a conscience convicted, and forgiveness extended being reconciled to God? Is that not what it means to be as bold as a lion?

Don’t be afraid or a coward to confess the nature of what is hidden deep within you. If you believe in God through Jesus Christ then you have a Lion inside you, willing to help clean up all your mess. Find someone you know in the Lord, someone you can trust with all your soul, and let them pray over you—be healed.

James 5:16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.


Resources

Proverbs 28 (NASB)—blueletterbible
1 The wicked flee when no one is pursuing, But the righteous are bold as a lion. 2 By the transgression of a land many are its princes, But by a man of understanding and knowledge, so it endures. 3 A poor man who oppresses the lowly Is like a driving rain which leaves no food. Those who forsake the law praise the wicked, But those who keep the law strive with them. 5 Evil men do not understand justice, But those who seek the LORD understand all things. 6 Better is the poor who walks in his integrity Than he who is crooked though he be rich. 7 He who keeps the law is a discerning son, But he who is a companion of gluttons humiliates his father. He who increases his wealth by interest and usury Gathers it for him who is gracious to the poor. 9 He who turns away his ear from listening to the law, Even his prayer is an abomination. 10 He who leads the upright astray in an evil way Will himself fall into his own pit, But the blameless will inherit good. 11 The rich man is wise in his own eyes, But the poor who has understanding sees through him. 12 When the righteous triumph, there is great glory, But when the wicked rise, men hide themselves. 13 He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, But he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion. 14 How blessed is the man who fears always, But he who hardens his heart will fall into calamity. 15 Like a roaring lion and a rushing bear Is a wicked ruler over a poor people. 16 A leader who is a great oppressor lacks understanding, But he who hates unjust gain will prolong his days. 17 A man who is laden with the guilt of human blood Will be a fugitive until death; let no one support him. 18 He who walks blamelessly will be delivered, But he who is crooked will fall all at once. 19 He who tills his land will have plenty of food, But he who follows empty pursuits will have poverty in plenty. 20 A faithful man will abound with blessings, But he who makes haste to be rich will not go unpunished. 21 To show partiality is not good, Because for a piece of bread a man will transgress. 22 A man with an evil eye hastens after wealth And does not know that want will come upon him. 23 He who rebukes a man will afterward find more favor Than he who flatters with the tongue. 24 He who robs his father or his mother And says, “It is not a transgression,” Is the companion of a man who destroys. 25 An arrogant man stirs up strife, But he who trusts in the LORD will prosper. 26 He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, But he who walks wisely will be delivered. 27 He who gives to the poor will never want, But he who shuts his eyes will have many curses. 28 When the wicked rise, men hide themselves; But when they perish, the righteous increase.

See here, (28:1—Matthew Henry Commentary)
1. What continual frights those are subject to that go on in wicked ways. Guilt in the conscience makes men a terror to themselves, so that they are ready to flee when none pursues; like one that absconds for debt, who thinks every one he meets a bailiff. Though they pretend to be easy, there are secret fears which haunt them wherever they go, so that they fear where no present or imminent danger is, Ps. 53:5. Those that have made God their enemy, and know it, cannot but see the whole creation at war with them, and therefore can have no true enjoyment of themselves, no confidence, no courage, but a fearful looking for of judgment. Sin makes men cowards.

Degeneres animos timor arguit-
Fear argues a degenerate soul.—Virgil

Quos diri conscia facti mens habet attonitos-
The consciousness of atrocious crimes astonishes and confounds.—Juvenal

If they flee when none pursues, what will they do when they shall see God himself pursuing them with his armies? Job 20:2415:24. See Deu. 28:25Lev. 26:36.

2. What a holy security and serenity of mind those enjoy who keep conscience void of offence and so keep themselves in the love of God: The righteous are bold as a lion, as a young lion; in the greatest dangers they have a God of almighty power to trust to. Therefore will not we fear though the earth be removed. Whatever difficulties they meet with in the way of their duty, they are not daunted by them. None of those things move me.

Hie murus aheneus esto, nil conscire sibi-
Be this thy brazen bulwark of defence,
Still to preserve thy conscious innocence.—Hor.

OUTLINE

-One verse at a time.
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River Course to Recovery

Featured photo: Ben Jacobi www.bdjphoto.com 

Re:generation

Monday’s are when Laura and I meet at Watermark only to be separated by a program that takes us on a journey to recovery from struggles (or spiritual diseases that eat away at our psyche).  To name a few:

  • Abused (Physically/Verbally/Emotionally/Sexually)
  • Abortion
  • Acceptance/ fear of rejection
  • Anger/Rage/Escalation
  • Anxiety
  • Body image
  • Cheating
  • Critical Spirit/Complaining
  • Debt
  • Defined by my past
  • Divorce/Separation
  • Drugs/Substance Abuse/Pills
  • Drunkenness
  • Emotional dependency
  • Evil thoughts/actions
  • Fear
  • Greed/Selfishness/Love of Money
  • Insecurity
  • Isolation/Withdraw
  • Lust
  • Lying/Deceit/Dishonesty
  • Masturbation
  • Pride/Self Righteousness
  • Sexual immorality/fornication
  • Stress
  • Unforgiveness
  • Voyeurism
  • Worry

The list is much longer, alarming, and questioning, but stem from three main roots identifiable here.  The program is a heavy load to bear, but worth it.  I’ll assure you.  The step group of men I’ve been assigned with have just completed the “3rd Step” heading into “Inventory” (4th Step) to a 12 Step—year long process for understanding, healing, and change.  Inventory is where I’ll be enduring the “max” weight of the process, with my band of brothers to “spot” the weight.  This is the equivalent of what it takes to be a Navy Seal but from a spiritual perspective.  The determination that qualifies my recovery is entirely between me and the Holy Spirit of God.  Will I qualify?

Spiritual Warfare

warfareRaised attending church and later even considered a PK (Preacher’s kid); having been sexually molested and abused as a child; medicated the majority of my life for ADD/ADHD (Ritalin, Strattera, Adderall, and Vyvanse); devastated by my parents divorce, depressed and confused; addicted to pornography; emotionally and physically manipulated and abused; exposed to and experienced sexual misconduct and immorality; disowned family while abandoned by family; experienced drugs and transported; the hypocrite of hypocrites; liar and deceiver, hiding my pain with the guilt of others shame; holes in my doors and walls, angry at everything; dead to the world with literal broken bones, hydrocodone, and time to kill; finally, the truth is but a question still, “Am I Forgiven?”.  I’ve said to myself over and over again, “‘But’ this.  And, ‘but’ that.”.  In response to not understanding or trusting that I’m truly loved by God.  So for me to accept a truth that such evil could be forgiven, was intolerable, “It can’t be!  Impossible!  How?”.  I’d make the claim, “My sexual reproductive system ‘justifies’ the act of my ‘second glance’ that deems me guilty of committing adultery according to the preacher’s preaching.”.  Then I must be already on a river course to Hell.  Why would this life permit such evil “freedoms” in respect of (not getting caught) governmental laws and city ordinances that would convict me otherwise, if not to subtly and discreetly enjoy?  So, my flesh would say in its sin, “What happens in this life ‘stays’ in this life.”, after all, “It’s forgiven.”.  Reader, do you hear that pride?  According to biblical standards; offering up my blood as payment for a place in the Kingdom of God will not suffice for a Holy God and will have to (justifiably) come to a verdict, “guilty of sin”.  I am incapable of bearing the weight of my sin and no amount of money will free me from the truth within the “needle” (death penalty) that awaits me.  Have I been abandoned by God?

Qualified

Around the age of 16 I’d disowned my dad (Jim Dooley) and denounced him to the “biological father” status with an agenda to prove the point.  When my dad would approach me with open arms for a hug, I’d refuse; or again with a hand shake, in public, still refuse.  On my graduation day in front of all my fellow classmates and peers had my name called out as my step-dad’s last name, “Powell”.  To make it clear with my legal name change that I would have nothing to do with Jim.  It wasn’t until I was so broken (literally) alone in my home, finding a letter from my dad that wrote “I love you” all over the face of it and inside, the desired expression to have a “relationship again”.  When I had first received this card, I’d thrown it aside thinking it not to be found ever again… Until.  There is a part of the story with powerful significance to this letter that will have to come in a later post.  Amidst the lies of the enemy that would cloud my judgment and ability to discern right from wrong realized I had the ability to forgive Jim.  It had nothing to do with anything my dad had done wrong.  Only the fact that I had the power to forgive.  Get this!  Even having the knowledge of all that has been done wrong in not only my life, but my family’s, left me in a position to choose the next step.  Will I forgive it all?  All that was presented and lain before you in my life above.  Have I forgiven it? And, am I forgiven?  I broke down sobbing with snot and tears when realizing that God was speaking to me in that letter, “I love you” — “I hope to have a relationship with you again”.  My lust, pride, and insecurities had me blind to the nature of God as my Father.  It was not until the “prodigal son” would call his dad asking the right to his last name again, “Dooley”, that I’d taken the step to become a prodigal son of my Heavenly Father.  The most difficult part about forgiveness is trusting its integrity.  It was only until yesterday that I’d decided to truly trust the Word of God without a “but” to deter my focus from that truth.  That faith in The Word of God, is how I’m qualified!


12 His eyes are a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems; and He has a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself. 13 He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. 14 And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses.