Tag: forgiveness

Learning and living!

Scripture reading for September 10th:  Proverbs 12-14, Colossians 3

Key Scriptures:  Colossians 3:12-15  “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another, and if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.  And above all these, put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.  And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.”  

Learning and living go together in our walk with Jesus Christ.  As we follow Jesus, His example is to guide our conduct and His Holy Spirit is to fill us with the fruit of His Holy character.  We are one with Christ and other believers in one body, His Church!

Proverbs 14:2-3  “Whoever walks in uprightness fears the Lord, but he who is devious in his ways despises Him.  By the mouth of a fool comes a rod for his back, but the lips of the wise will preserve them.”

Prayer:  Lord, clothe me today with Your Holy Spirit and Christ’s character so that I might reflect Your goodness to the people You love and died for.  Amen.

 

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Dwelling place for God

Scripture reading for August 28th:  Psalm 129-132 and Ephesians 4

Key Scriptures: Ephesians 4:29-32 “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.  And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.  Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.  Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” 

Christians are not under the law anymore, but under grace through faith in Christ Jesus.  They have been forgiven of their sins and cleansed in their hearts.  The Holy Spirit dwells inside them to lead them in the new life of grace.  This changes our speech, attitudes and past anger and malice towards others.  Our attitudes and actions should now reflect Christ Jesus living within our hearts.

Psalm 132:13-16 “for the Lord has chosen Zion; He has desired it for His dwelling place:”This is My resting place forever; here I will dwell, for I have desired it.  I will abundantly bless her provisions; I will satisfy her poor with bread.  Her priests I will clothe with salvation, and her saints will shout for joy.” 

Prayer:  Lord, dwell in me today, fill me with Your Holy Spirit and clothe me with salvation and joy!  I will proclaim Your grace to others.  Amen.

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God’s Amazing Plans

Scripture reading for May 22nd:  1st Chronicles 21-23, Acts 13

Key Scriptures:  Acts 13:36-39 “For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep and was laid with his fathers and saw corruption, but He (Jesus) whom God raised up did not see corruption.  Let it be known to you therefore, brothers, that through this man forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, and by Him everyone who believes is freed from everything from which you could not be freed by the law of Moses.”  

As Paul preached to the Jews in Antioch, he carefully led them through the history of God dealing with their ancestors and how King David had served Israel in his generation but had died and was buried.  Now a Son of David, Jesus Christ, had been raised from death and now offers forgiveness of sins to all who will believe.  King David actually bought the site of the temple as the place where Jesus Christ would offer Himself for the sins of the world.

1st Chronicles 22:1  “Then David said, “Here shall be the house of the Lord God and here the altar of burnt offering for Israel.” 

 

 

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Thankful for the cleansing blood!

Scripture reading for December 15th:  Hebrews 5-9

Key Scriptures:  Hebrews 9:22-24  “In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.  It was necessary, then, for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these sacrifices, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these (the blood of bulls and goats).  . . . But now He (Christ) has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of Himself.”  

The writer of Hebrews was showing Jewish believers how Jesus Christ fulfilled the requirements of Scripture.  Because the law required blood sacrifice for atonement for sins, blood must be shed and presented before God at the place and in the manner He commanded.  But in Jesus Christ, we have something better than a copy, we have the actual sinless Son of God offering Himself–body and blood–as a covering for the sins of man.  He presented His own blood on the altar of Heaven, not a copy on earth.  This satisfied God’s justice once for all who by faith believe!

Thankful for the blood of atonement:  “For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one’s life.”  (Leviticus 17:11)

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Forgiving persecutors!

Scripture reading for May 13th:  Acts 7

Key Scriptures for over-comers:  Acts 7:59-60- 8:1  “While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.”  Then he fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.”  When he had said this, he fell asleep.  And Saul was there, giving approval to his death.”  

Stephen preached the Gospel to those who had crucified Jesus.  At the end of his message, they were under strong conviction but instead of repenting and believing, they chose to stone the messenger!  Stephen committed his spirit to the Lord Jesus and then prayed for those who were stoning him, asking the Lord to forgive them!  What grace and courage from this first martyr!  Notice it says that Stephen ‘fell asleep’!  This was after he saw heaven opened and Jesus standing to receive him!  (Acts 50:55-56)  God answered this prayer by later touching Saul and bringing him to repentance and forgiveness and making him into the mighty Apostle Paul!

Observations for over-comers:  Our acts of grace and forgiveness show the heart of Jesus towards the lost and open the door for God to work in and through their lives.   “So they sent word to Joseph, saying, “Your father left these instructions before he died;  ‘This is what you are to say to Joseph:  I ask you to forgive your brothers the sins and wrongs they committed in treating you so badly.’  “Now please forgive the sins of the servants of the God of your father.” When their message came to him, Joseph wept.”  (Genesis 50:16-17)

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Faith and forgiveness!

Scripture reading for December 10th: Philemon

This short personal letter from Paul to Philemon concerns a run-away slave who got saved under Paul’s ministry in Rome.  This slave could easily have been sentenced to death if he had been caught, but God was working something else out in his life.  He heard the Gospel message from Paul and gave his life to Jesus Christ.  Paul was writing his master, Philemon, to appeal to him to take him back and receive him as a brother in the Lord.  This simple letter reveals the heart of forgiveness we must have toward others as they repent and come into the kingdom.

“I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ.  Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the saints.” (Philemon 6-7)

Paul’s prayer for Philemon is an encouragement for us to share our faith.  As we learn to give away what we have received from the Lord, we get back a more complete understanding of all that is ours in Christ.  Giving  by sharing causes joy in pastoral leadership!

Paul gently appeals to Philemon to restore his converted slave. (Philemon 8-10)  Paul stated that Onesimus was formerly useless to him.  Before salvation, he was in bondage to sin and could not be loyal and serve him properly.  Now, as a brother in the Lord, Onesimus was useful to the kingdom and to Philemon!  This is an added blessing of sharing your faith!  Others come into their full purpose and become brothers and sisters in the family of God!

Love isn’t love unless it is freely given.  Forgiveness isn’t real if it is not also freely given.  We can’t order forgiveness.  We can’t command that another love us or love God.  When we appeal to another person to do what is right, then they can more easily choose to freely give.  Paul’s letter is a great example of a godly appeal to someone in authority to do what is right.  May the Lord grant us grace today to love and forgive freely according to the example of Jesus Christ!

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The Glory of the Lord filled the Temple!

Scripture Reading for April 4th: 1st Kings 5-8

Solomon had heard God’s decree that he would build the house where God’s Name would reside among His people.  He knew of the desire of his father David and willingly offered himself to the Lord to build this “House”.  (1st Kings 5:5)  In building the temple, Solomon employed many people.  Some came from lands outside Israel.  Solomon made covenants with many nations and the nations were drawn to Israel during this time of peace.  God granted favor and peace during the reign of Solomon for this purpose.

The temple was made of stone, cedar and pine wood, and precious metals.  Craftsmen worked off site on the stones so that the temple could be assembled without saws, chisels or hammers used on the site.  (1st Kings 6:7)  The temple took seven years to construct with thousands of workers meticulously adding every piece and detail in precise order and design. (1st Kings 6:38)  God is truly a God of order and a master craftsman!

The crowning moment at the dedication of the temple tells how God filled the House with His Glory!  The priests had carried the Ark into the Holy of Holies and then withdrew.  The priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud of God’s glory!  (1st Kings 8:6-11)  Solomon declared a blessing over the people gathered there and thanked God for His faithfulness!

Solomon then knelt down, raised his hands toward heaven, and prayed a magnificent prayer of petition and dedication!  In this prayer are eight petitions of God to “hear from heaven” when His people call upon Him for help.  The central focus is forgiveness!  All of man’s troubles are caused by sin, either against God or man made in God’s image.  The consequences of sin bring famine, disease, plague, war, and death.  As God’s people cry out, God’s glory is that He will hear and forgive and act to bring healing and restoration!

Another focus of Solomon’s prayer was for the foreigner and those drawn to the temple from other lands and peoples.  Solomon asks God to hear their prayer as well so that all peoples of the earth may know His Great Name and fear the Lord!  (1st Kings 8:41-43, 60)  This prayer reminds us of Jesus instructing his followers to go into all the world and make disciples of all nations! His house would be a house of prayer for all nations!  (Mark 11:17)

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The King’s Return

Scripture reading for April 1st: 2nd Samuel 19-20

After the rebellion of Absalom, King David was in mourning for the loss of this beloved son.  Even though this son had tried to take over his throne and kill him, David wished that he himself was dead instead!  This is the heart of God for all who perish outside of His grace!  He wishes none to perish but all to come to receive salvation!  (1st Timothy 2:3-4)  Joab, the commander of David’s army calls the king out of his mourning to be thankful for those who risked their lives to support him.

As King David returned, there were many things to make right again.  Rebellion leaves a residue.  People’s hearts are tested and their loyalties become clear.  Not everyone had sided with the king!  Some had openly dishonored him and some were still in rebellion.  David must again sit at the city gate and judge and encourage the people.  He must establish a team of advisers and leaders who will be loyal to help him.  As we read these chapters of 2nd Samuel, it is interesting to note how the king deals with these various situations.

First, David summoned the elders of Judah to meet with him.  Shimei, the Benjamite who had cursed David came with them with a thousand of his brothers and fell at the king’s feet, begging for mercy. (2nd Samuel 19:16-23)  Abishai recommended that he be put to death, but David gave mercy!  Revenge was not in his heart this day!   Mephiboseth, Saul’s grandson came before David and gave a conflicting story with that of his servant Ziba.  David gave a wise answer and did not make a judgment.  Barzillai, David’s friend and adviser came and David blessed him and gave him what he desired.

As we look at these events and how people came before David, I think ahead to the return of our King, Jesus Christ!  The return of Jesus will bring many surprises.  True loyalties will be exposed!  Our King will take with Him those who have been faithful and reward all who have come to Him for mercy.  He will not judge by what His eyes see outwardly, but He will be the faithful Judge who judges righteously.  He will deal with all rebels and dispatch them to their punishment.  He will return at a time when most are not expecting Him and His reward will be with Him.  I pray that you and I are ready and watching!

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Sharing Your Faith and Forgiveness

Scripture reading for December 10th: Philemon

This short personal letter from Paul to Philemon concerns a run-away slave who got saved under Paul’s ministry in Rome.  This slave could easily have been sentenced to death if he had been caught, but God was working something else out in his life.  He heard the Gospel message from Paul and gave his life to Jesus Christ.  Paul was writing his master, Philemon, to appeal to him to take him back and receive him as a brother in the Lord.  Philemon was a believer in a church that Paul had planted and Paul had evidently been his spiritual father as well.  This simple letter reveals the heart of forgiveness we must have toward others as they repent and come into the kingdom.

“I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ.  Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the saints.” (Philemon 6-7)

Paul’s prayer for Philemon is an encouragement for us to share our faith.  As we learn to give away what we have received from the Lord, we get back a more complete understanding of all that is ours in Christ.  Giving  by sharing brings blessings of deeper understanding and causes joy in pastoral leadership!

Paul next, gently appeals to Philemon to take Onesimus, this converted slave, back and restore him. (Philemon 8-10)  Paul states that Onesimus was formerly useless to him.  Before salvation, he was in bondage to self and sin and could not be loyal and serve him properly.  Now, as a brother in the Lord, Onesimus was useful to the kingdom and to Philemon!  This is an added blessing of sharing your faith!  Others come into their full purpose and become brothers and sisters in the family of God!

Love isn’t love unless it is freely given.  Forgiveness isn’t real if it is not also freely given.  We can’t order forgiveness.  We can’t command that another love us or love God.  When we appeal to another person to do what is right, then they can more easily choose to freely give.  Paul’s letter is a great example of a godly appeal to someone in authority to do what is right.  May the Lord grant us grace today to love and forgive freely according to the example of Jesus Christ!

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A pardon from the King!

Scripture Reading for April 1st: 2nd Samuel 19-20

Have you ever done something really foolish?  (By the way, today is April fool’s day!)  In the last presidential campaign, one of the candidates talked bad about his opponent without realizing that his microphone was on and he was being recorded.  It was an embarrassing situation that was hard to justify!  In today’s reading, a man by the name of Shimei had done something really stupid to King David, who was now returning to power in Jerusalem.

As David left the city when he fled from Absalom, Shimei yelled curses at him.   (2nd Samuel 16:5-8)  David responded with the statement that God had sent Shimei to do that.   (2nd Samuel 16:11-12)  Although Abishai, a son of Zeruiah, wanted to kill Shimei, David refused to do so.  David realized that his current situation was a result of his own sin. God had warned him that trouble would come to him from his own household.  (2nd Samuel 12:10-13)  Shimei’s curses were reminding David of his sin and of God’s promise.

Now, after Absalom’s rebellion had been stopped by his untimely death, David was returning to Jerusalem as King over God’s people.  Shimei was one of the first to greet him.  He immediately fell at the King’s feet and asked for mercy, confessing his sin and taking responsibility. (2nd Samuel 19:16-20)  His humble attitude and progressive actions found a receptive heart in the King.  The sons of Zeruiah still wanted to get revenge and had to be rebuked again by the King.  (2nd Samuel 19:21-23)  The King granted a pardon to Shimei! I believe he understood God’s mercy when he, himself, cried out to God for it.  (Psalm 51:1-2)

We can all identify with Shimei in that we have all sinned against the King of Heaven, our Lord Jesus Christ!  We have rebelled against Him and deserve punishment.  Our accuser, Satan, tries to condemn us to death.  But the Lord has mercy on those who humbly confess and call upon Him for pardon.  God forgives us our sins and cleanses us from all unrighteousness!  (1st John 1:9)   This is good news!  We can have a pardon from the King!  Honest confession and repentance will bring forgivnesnss and restoration.  Take the action needed today to deal with sins against God or man who is made in God’s image!  Psalm 51 is a great pattern.  Forgive yourself too!  We have a pardon from the King!

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