Do we have any concept of the magnitude of God’s forgiveness? I continue to be overwhelmed with the depth of His forgiveness.
I struggle constantly with bringing my life into, not obedience, but the image of my Lord. That is my desire, to be the image that He has created me to be.
I can not do that in and of myself. I can only yield my self to my Lord. He does everything else. But, darn, I keep getting in my way. I think this would work better, or this should be handled like this. Or I respond in a manner totally not like God.
My Lord is so good to take me back when I come to Him and ask forgiveness. There is no lecture or, consequences, just forgiveness. And He picks me up and stands me on my feet and we start again.
Which isn’t to say that I don’t have to deal with the consequences of my actions in this world, or that I won’t feel remorse and regret; that comes from this world and our human bodies.
But not from our Lord. No, His forgiveness is complete and the sin is forgotten no matter how many times we bring it to Him.
And this, friend, is the forgiveness we should try to extend to others.
How wonderful, how marvelous is my Savior’s love for me.
You know that forgiveness that God so freely gives to us? Well, we are supposed to extend that to others.
How hard that is. Just as going to the Father to ask for forgiveness for our sins, lifts that burden and restores our sweet relationship. Forgiving that bully who purposefully pushes your buttons, and yanks your chain, lifts a burden and maintains a sweet relationship with your Father.
Unforgiveness takes the load of an offence and puts it on your back. You carry the memory of that offence and the hurt it caused you wherever you go. And it gets heavier with each offence.
When you take that burden to the Father and give it to Him, that is forgiveness. That bully didn’t ask for forgiveness and indeed he has no intention of EVER asking forgiveness, in fact he fully intends to continue bullying you forever. We are supposed to live in the spirit of forgiveness that God has extended to us.
It’s a vicious circle. We recognize we are supposed to forgive the bully, so we go to the Father and ask forgiveness for not doing that, but the bully hurts us again and we carry that resentment and we know we need to forgive him…..
But here’s the secret, we are not in this alone. The Holy Spirit is with us. Yes, we fail to forgive time and again, but when we pursue forgiveness, we release the Spirit to move. He can change our hearts. Making repeated forgiveness possible. WE DON’T DO IT! Indeed, we can’t do it: Only giving it to the Lord, and admitting that we can’t do it works.
It isn’t easy, and it takes a lifetime, but it does work.
I have heard the story of forgiveness so many times, you’d think it would become old hat, but it does not! Every time I hear it. New facets of this glorious truth are revealed to me .
Pastor Rex spoke of the person we thought would never sin, brought I to mind Billy Graham. Do you know he was a sinner just like you and me? Oh, you’d never know it and neither would I. But God did.
The sin Billy Graham bore and the sin that the worst criminal bears weigh the same! There is no difference. At one time Billy Graham was crushed beneath the weight of sin to the point of death. It took the same amount of forgiveness to save him as it would that criminal.
I can’t think of anything worse than being buried alive. Yet that is what I was. Okay, I was a seven year old girl when I gave my heart to the Lord. But the weight of my sin was the same. I didn’t realize the magnitude of my salvation until decades later and the analogy of being buried beneath the load of sin and being brought back to life with a huge breath of fresh air was amazing to me.
Something just came to me. Even though I was only seven, the weight of my sin was equal to every sin that I had ever committed up to that point AND every sin that I would ever commit for the rest of my life! Sins that I am still committing.
Oh, the joy of forgiveness
More tomorrow…. If it comes.
Please, please hear me. All of these things don’t happen overnight! Remember I said God takes you where you are and makes you better? Remember I said it is a process? Like a baby being formed in the womb, it takes time to develop. The eyes are being formed at the same time as the heart and brain, but it all takes time.
And it is God’s time, not anyone else’s.
The END result of giving your life to God is living for His glory. I was a Christian for 50 years before I made the conscious decision to surrender my whole life to God. That it was all for Him.
From the first realization that you are a sinner and you need to do something about it, things START to change. The things I have described do happen, but it can be a slow process.
A word to us old time Christians. We want to see new Christians become ‘old Christians’ immediately. That is our problem and we are hindering new Christians! We see the outer actions, we know they don’t bring glory to God, but it is NOT our job to bring about that change! We come alongside and love the new Christian and teach them and let God do the rest. In His time.
Now I’ll get off my soap box. I’ve been holding all this in for years. I never had any one to say all this to.
My original plan was to post comments on Pastor Rex’s sermons. Now that I’ve gotten them all transferred over to this site I can do that. I am still working to get them in consequential order.
So I’ll post more tomorrow… if it comes
Colossians 1: 9-11
9 We do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that you might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;
10 that you might walk worthy of the Lord in all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;
11 strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness…
It goes on, both before these verses and after. Paul sees no reason to use 50 words when 100 will do. Okay, he was a Jewish pharisee, I guess that’s part of the job description.
Suffice it to say, praying for the salvation of unsaved loved ones, and a deeper relationship with the Father for those who already know Him, are pretty safe and sincere prayers.
But we are human and we do want health and safety for our loved ones. We have the ear of a Heavenly Father who loves us and who wouldn’t be on their face before the Lord when their child is missing?
Yes, we absolutely do want God’s will, and we accept that Gods is going to do what He has planned, but does that mean we can’t ask our loving Father to protect our child and bring them back to us? Does it mean we can’t ask our heavenly Father about things that weigh on our hearts. I may pray for something for years and it may or may not happen I still have the privilege to ask knowing He has the world in His hands and will work all things together for good for my life and those I love.
I’m interested in your thoughts.
Okay, so we don’t just pray for more toys. Now we have a new reason to live. Now we live to please the Lord, according to His plan for our life. So how do we pray? What do we pray for?
One thing we can pray for is to know our Lord better, to have a deeper relationship with Him. OH, so now I become a saint; some kind of angel on a cloud with a harp. No, you are still you with the same life and the same circumstances, only now you’re not living it alone. Remember the Holy Spirit living inside you? Another verse in the Bible, Romans 8: 26 says helps us to pray when we don’t know how to pray. Maybe He’ll put thoughts in your head. Maybe your heart will be filled with praise and worship even if you’re not at church. One thing He will definitely do is let you know of your sin so you can quick ask for forgiveness to keep a growing relationship with the Father. When you let the Holy Spirit guide your prayers, they become very different. Maybe you will start to pray for others and their salvation. Or for guidance with how to live or make decisions.
With the Holy Spirit guiding you, you will pray for things is Jesus’ name for the Father’s glory.
More thoughts tomorrow….. if it comes
Oh, Lord won’tcha buy me a Mercedes Benz. My friends all have Porches, I must make amends.
THAT IS NOT PRAYER!
Many believe prayer is asking for things and expecting to get them. That is an element of prayer. John 14: 13 does say “whatever you ask…. I will give it…” Yep, it says that alright. And there are many stories where a person has asked God for something and God has supplied. But that is not what prayer is all about.
Let’s look at those dots. John 14:13 goes on to say: Whatever you ask IN MY NAME I will give it…. So when we ask in His name He will give it. That doesn’t mean you just tack on those three words and God is obligated. Nope that doesn’t cut it either.
Since we now live our life for God our priorities begin to change, not all at once, or overnight, but they do change. The desire for more toys and more money to buy more toys isn’t as strong. The way we live our lives takes a different direction.
Now we start to ask “Lord, help me to live a life that is pleasing to You” What we ask IN HIS NAME comes more into focus.
The last of the dots says THAT THE FATHER MAY BE GLORIFIED. Now that really changes things. We not only ask in Jesus name, a new accountability But that our Father may be glorified, a new direction.
More on prayer tomorrow…. If it comes
Psalm 139: 13-16 talks about how even before you were formed in your mother’s womb, God knew you. God watched as you were being formed. Not only that, He knew your life’s plan even then!
Take it as it says. There are age old controversies on this subject and I’m not touchin’ them. That’s what these verses say and here I stand. God has a plan for our lives. Even before we were born the saga began, but it took on a new dimension when the Holy Spirit entered your heart.
Remember I said the Holy Spirit enables your relationship with God? When you start to hear that new voice in your head it’s Him guiding you. If we listen to Him we’re okay, but it’s so easy to drown Him out. He IS that still small voice.
The fact that we still sin is evidence that we aren’t listening to Him completely. Which just means we’re still human. It’s no excuse, no justification, it’s a fact.
All that aside, the Holy Spirit draws you to read the Bible with new eyes. He enables us direct communication with the Father (prayer).
You might say the Holy Spirit is the entity that holds everything together and makes everything work. In Genesis 1, the Spirit did the creating when God created the universe.
The Holy Spirit lives in our heart, He talks to us and He carries our prayers to the father.
More on that tomorrow….. if it comes
I’ll say this once. The Bible never says you HAVE to go to church.
But you are on a church site, so I assume you know that church is where Christians grow together.
Yeah yeah, I’ve heard all the excuses about how church is full of hypocrites and liars, and how churches just want to control you or want your money. They want to fill you with their lies. There are churches out there that fit that description. I won’t deny it. Since all humans are sinners and churches are made up of humans, including you, then all churches are indeed filled with sinners. Put that in your pipe and smoke it.
Does that make churches bad? I don’t think so.
Can you grow all by yourself? Can you grow just by reading the Bible and listening to the Holy Spirit? Well, yeah, about the same way you can learn to speak a language from a book without ever speaking it with anyone else.
Imperfect people, who want to learn more about how to live a Christian life, gather together to figure out how to do that. In my opinion that is church. Be it in a building with a cross on it or a hotel room where two people are having a heart to heart discussion.
Christians learn to live the Christian life from other Christians. I honestly believe Boistfort Community Church is that kind of church.
More on that tomorrow…. If it comes
So now we are Christians, what happens next?
These days the identification ‘Christian’ is kind of negative. But dog gone it I’m proud to be a Christian, one who patterns my life after Jesus. Call me a ‘Christ follower’ if you like but I was a Christian first and Christ follower is just a cover title for Christian. So, drop the game and call me a Christian!
This is where the growing begins. Becoming a Christian is kind of like getting married. You give your heart to God, accept Jesus’ forgiveness; that’s the easy part. Now you learn what it is ti live the Christian life.
I have told my kids from the beginning that being a Christian isn’t a ‘religion’, it is a relationship. A ‘religion’ is a set of beliefs concocted by man. It has rules and that baaad word, ‘doctrine’.
A relationship with God is a growing thing. Again, like a marriage where now that you guys have to live together, you have to get to know each other in an ever-deepening manner. You read the Bible with different understanding; It’s not just a set of restricting rules, but a whole new awakening saga of a God who loves you and wants His best for your life.
So, fine how do I do that?
More on that tomorrow….. if it comes