Forgiving One Another

Just a few days ago we, as believers in Christ, were celebrating His resurrection. We were rejoicing that Our God forgave us of all sin if we believed that his Son, Jesus – was truly the Christ; Our Redeemer. Forgiveness!!! We have shown ourselves to be so grateful!

If we have truly received the gift of grace given at Calvary – then it should not be a stretch for us to forgive others. We must always remember the great mercy shown us in the death of Christ and we must always endeavor to show that mercy in the world. We know what we have been saved from!! We know what state we were in when Christ redeemed us! We are required to be merciful as our brothers and sisters ask our forgiveness. This is not to say that we become doormats — but expressly that when someone offends us or enters into debt with us and asks for mercy — we cannot deny them.

An unwillingness to forgive one another places us in a position to pay the debt that Christ has already paid for us!

Father, I thank You for forgiving my sins and for taking away my sin debt. Give me a heart like Yours, so that I may have compassion and show mercy to those who ask for it. May the love of Christ dwell in me richly!!

Forgiveness and Blessing

I haven’t stolen anything; I haven’t killed anybody; I haven’t slept with anyone I’m not married to …. but I can surely confess that I have had thoughts about people that were not in line with the will of God on this day; I can surely confess that I’ve wanted something in my life that I do not have; I can surely confess that I’ve doubted even for a moment something that I know God can do.  And you know what?!?!  All of that is sin!!  But you know what?!?!  When I admonish my wrong and go before my Father seeking His face — He will forgive me and heal me of my sin and make me write before Him.  OH!  Hallelujah!  Bless His Holy Name!  Don’t miss your shout cue, y’all!

God’s people are not exempt from falling into sin.  In fact, it is overtly stated throughout scripture that there is none – not one – who does not sin.  However, as God’s people – His dearly beloved  – we can rest assured that when we sincerely repent from our sin; crying out to Him to forgive us and change us and and committing to change and turn from it – He will not only forgive and cleanse us – but He will surely bless us!

Even in the midst of your failures, don’t miss the promise of Our Father!!  It is His promise that He will grant the pleas of His people if they embody/demonstrate/prove a true heart for Him!

What must we do? Humble ourselves. Pray. Seek His face. Turn from our sin.  This promise was spoken to God’s people Israel, but I believe that as God’s people today this truth still applies.  When you sin (and you WILL sin) – submit to God’s authority; cry out to Him for forgiveness; listen for His direction for you; and commit to never go back to doing that thing and I believe that even when we sin grievously and find ourselves in the hand of our enemy – He will turn that thing around!

Our sin will surely bring with it unpleasant consequences but it is His good pleasure to bind up our wounds – even those He inflicts upon us.  Our pride will bring us to destruction – but if we humble ourselves under His mighty hand – He will exalt us in due time.  He knew we would falter – and He has always made a way for us to set things right with Him.  Forgiveness and blessing!  Who wouldn’t serve a God like that?!

If I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or if I command the locust to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among My people, and My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

2 Chronicles 7:13, 14

Giving Up The Right to be RIGHT

Even the most humble among us has a desire to be right – or to be defended.

Our right to be right can totally overshadow our privilege to be loving!  Laying down our rights – It’s not natural — but it is godly. 

When we were on home assignment some years ago, there was a misunderstanding between a local pastor and what he thought was the intent of our youngest son to insult his son.  The principal of the school knew our son and knew this was a case of a missionary kid not understanding the culture of the USA – it happens!!  The boys were fine – but the father of the other child, a local pastor, was quite upset – so the principal suggested that we go to him and talk about what happened; perceptions versus reality. We went to this pastor to apologize for the misunderstanding and to keep this issue from escalating – this pastor’s response to us was, “I want my pound of flesh!”  And he said this with a SMILE!!!  It all worked out but this highlighted for Lloyd and I the depravity of even the best of us.  Oftentimes an apology is not enough! We want the wrong to be made right according to our own standards.   I’m so glad Christ didn’t feel that way!!  Oh Lord — can you imagine!!??!!

If you call yourself a follower of Christ you must – MUST be willing to take the hit.  If they call you a liar, it needs to be enough that you know you didn’t lie even if they print it in the paper and post it on Facebook.  If they take what is rightfully yours – you need to have enough faith in the Lord that He will provide what you need and that if there is to be be any vengeance, it belongs to him.  If they do cheat you (or cheat on you) – you have to forgive and not give in to your desire to spread the news far and wide that they are a cheat, instead praying that God will forgive and cleanse them from all unrighteousness.  It’s that whole concept  of giving them both your cloak and your coat – when they want to take your coat. 

We are known in America to be a litigious nation.  But as members of the Body of Christ — we need to decide to actually live like we were just in this world (sojourners) and not of this world (citizens).  Novel idea.  This really good looking preacher I know says these words to me and to his children often – “You have no right to be right and no one’s reputation matters but His.”  Think about it ..

My prayer is that my own heart will long for the world to see only Him in my actions and that I will be willing at all times to take the blame; take the fall; carry the weight — knowing that He will uphold me with His righteous right hand!!

Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be defrauded?  1 Corinthians 6:7b

OK – so the guy…

OK – so the guy is gay – why all this hatoration!! Are you afraid that the gay juice will rub off on you or something. I didn’t see all this uproar when Madoff ran off with people’s life savings or when our own nation destroyed another nation based on false reports of weapons of mass destruction.

Jesus has commanded that we love one another, that we bear one anothers burdens, that we remember that we are not without sin, that we judge in the manner that we wish to be judged, that we be merciful. When we learn that the best way to be — is like Jesus! Yes! Our hearts should cry when any person is caught up in any sin (homosexuality is not any bigger than lying about the support you give to missions and don’t!) but it is not ours to judge! It is ours to pray, to love, and ultimately to reconcile a fallen world back to its God and Savior. It is ours to forgive. And might I add that the world’s God and Savior is not called by my name or YOURS!! We are agents of love on this earth and just as Jesus loved us back to the truth and loved us right back into his bosom. We must pray for the lost, pray for ALL sinners (should I list the sins here or would that cause some of you angst as you would see your name on the sin!) — and ultimately we must allow the Holy Spirit to do His work. I choose to love! and so should you!! When the woman was caught in adultery – Jesus did not bash her or hate her or sentence her to eternal damnation – he forgave her and pointed out to her that those who were accusing her had their own sin to deal with. Let you who are without sin cast the first stone!!! I am choosing to love – to pray – and to seek God’s best for Jason Collins. May God have mercy on him — and on ALL of us. Except, of course, for all of you who are without sin!!!

Jan

Strong Love!

I’m pictured here with the dearest friend I ever had – the late, Barbara Jean Brown-Lewis.  it seemed that there were always words enough to express what we felt, tears enough to weep together and joy enough to share.  But I find that this is not always the case.

Recently I tried to apologize to a friend after being made aware that they were hurt – not by something that I did, but because of things that failed to do that could have prevented their hurt. My friend responded to me that I was mean, selfish and not Christ-like and that I needed to love people better.

I could hear the voice of my mentor telling me to be mindful, don’t waver in my faith, be brave, don’t wither. I could hear her telling me to continue to minister out of that pure love that is born out of my devotion to Christ.

I Corinthians is the authority on all things “LOVE” — and in chapter 16 you’ll find these words: “Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, e strong. Let all that you do be done in love.”

When we attempt to minister out of a heart of pure and sincere love, the world sees it and hates it! People will never believe that you do what you do because the love of Christ compels you — so they will accuse you of false motives or worse – they will accuse you of trying to ‘look’ spiritual! That is the ENEMY — it is one of his best tricks. We are so often deceived and discouraged by these reactions that we back peddle away from love and move to a stance of obligation. We must be aware of this device of the enemy, so that we will not begin to question our motives or believe the lies that people tell us about ourselves. Remember always your love for Christ and your devotion to Him which rises out of His passion for you.

I pray that the Father will help you to be filled afresh daily with His own Spirit so that you will not only operate in His power but in His love. I pray that He will strengthen your heart and steel your mind so that you will not be persuaded that your intentions are – or should be – anything other than reflections of His love in the world. I pray that He will become love in you!