Forgiveness

I am not an expert on things of the Bible.  I don’t think I pretend to be.  I am not afraid to admit that there are some things that are tough to swallow when following the ways of Christ.  However, despite all of that, I am eager to learn more about Him and I trust Him to know better than me.  His ways are higher than mine.  My lack of understanding is because of my imperfections, not because of His.

One of the things many Christians struggle with is forgiveness.  It is pretty easy to forgive someone for an accident, but I am talking true ‘lay down the sword’ forgiveness.  My biggest struggle isn’t forgiving people who hurt me, but rather people who hurt those I love, or people who hurt children.  But we must forgive.  And we must pray that they change.  We are called to minister to them just as much as we are called to minister to the little old lady next door who always bakes us apple pies.

Whenever I think about murderers, abusers, etc, I think of a few things.  First of all, it is not my place to judge where they will spend eternity.  While we are not called to condone, accept, or agree with their choices…in fact we are called to speak truth against their choices and hold them accountable…we are not the judges of their forever fate.  Second of all, I am far from perfect, and the deepest sins that Jesus knows about me are no better than the ones that we all know about public sinners.  Third, while some people are completely aware of the evil they do, others are not completely…some were raised from birth to think it okay to hurt those who don’t agree with them.  Some have not found Jesus yet and do not realize how wrong they are.  This doesn’t make them innocent.  No…none of us our innocent, but prayers and forgiveness are for everyone.  I also thank God that by His grace alone, I am not under the mindset that murder and abuse is the right path to take.  Finally I think about the length of eternity.  We cannot even comprehend the length of time eternity is.  And for someone to suffer for that long helps me pray for everyone.

Again, please know I am not condoning these people or their actions.  I have not been in the position to have to forgive someone who hurt my family in a severe way.  I have had to forgive people who have hurt my family in a less severe way though.  I don’t know how I would respond in the situation, but I pray that I would be able to forgive and love as Jesus would call me to do.  I am not at all claiming it would be easy.

When I think about people around the world hurting others, especially children, the only way I can make it make sense is if I relate it to “Divergent.”  Yes, my favorite movie!  There is a part of the movie where people are put under a trance and in this trance are programmed to do things that they normally would be against.  When they come out of the trance they are appalled at what they have done.  I think of the unsaved as being in the trance and if we can reach them, maybe they can come out of the trance, stop hurting people, and help save others.

In a world of Sauls, let’s pray for some conversions to Pauls.

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11.6.14

Yes, yes, yes, I know.   Promises to be here every day.  I know.  But, I have been saving up verses and will tell you why in a moment.  I am not making any more promises to be on here every day, but I will try very hard to be.  😉

We have had 3 pipe semi-flooding incidents in the last 3 weeks…none connected, all annoying, all time consuming.  I have been knocked down for the past week with gall bladder issues, which has made the eating and exercising thing a bit tricky.  Ironically it hit when I was eating my healthiest, but I am not usually unhealthy (I do not deprive myself of a good burger or milkshake on occasion, but I am generally not in those situations), we are the typical chicken, fruit and veggie family.  Boring, yes, healthy, yes.

So health first…I have not exercised in about a week.  Hoping to start today.  I hadn’t been sleeping…like, at all…so getting on a treadmill was daunting and lifting weights…well, let’s just say I feared dropping things on my head.  😉  I have been great with calories now that I am afraid of food, which you would show on the scale.  I am not worried about losing weight right now…truly…but ya know, an added perk to being sick is usually losing weight.  I think I lost an ounce.  My body is just quite out of whack these days.

Enough about me, I have had some wonderful verses (yes, they are all wonderful) come to my email through my daily verse website and I wanted to share.

He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant—not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.  2 Corinthians 3:6

Jesus is the only way we can enter His Kingdom and have eternal life.  Following every law to the “T” will not get us there.  Now, that does not mean you should break laws just because His forgiveness abounds.  If we are one with Christ and know the sacrifices He has made for us, we should want to make choices He wants us to make and reach even those who treat us or those we love the worst.

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.  1 Peter 2:9

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.  Ephesians 2:8-9

Prayer

I am convicted as I type this, as I know that I do not spend enough time in serious prayer with the Lord.  I do feel like I am in communication with Him throughout the day, but I need to fall at His feel, give Him my life, and praise Him continuously in prayer.  I need to know that He already knows my prayers, my wants, my needs before I come to Him and I need to pray His will be done and trust that He knows better than I.

How about you?  How are you in your prayer life?  Rev. Billy Graham (my father in law sent me the whole article that you can check out http://cnsnews.com/mrctv-blog/michael-w-chapman/rev-billy-graham-america-just-wicked-sodom-and-gomorrah-ever-were) recently said, “I tell you, history could be altered and changed again if people went to their knees in believing prayer.”

How often do we believe that God will answer prayer?  How often to we truly trust Him to do His will, which may not be what we think the answer is?  How often do we pray beyond our bubble…praying for our leaders (whether or not we agree with them), our country’s future, our world?

I encourage you all to make it your lifestyle to go to the Lord in real prayer many times a day.

10.20.14

Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

Psalm 51:12

When I read this in my email this morning, I knew I had to share it today!  If we could all genuinely say this prayer every day…wow!  What a difference our lives would be and the lives of others.  

10.17.14

“Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked.

“I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied. “Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”

Acts 9:5-6

I found this today and wanted to include it in my notes about “Prodigal God.”  Paul, a follower of Christ, a servant of the Lord, a man whom many have great respect, was once a persecutor and a murderer of Christians.  Here is the perfect example of a man changing completely for the Lord…completely!  We will meet many Pauls in our lives.  We may know some in their Saul stage, we may know the rest after the conversion  Irregardless, when we feel self righteous or judgmental about people in this world who have done horrific things…we need to remember God may use them to do great things in the future.  We need to pray for the lost, no matter how lost they are.  

10.16.14

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

John 14:6

Mary, the mother of Jesus, is amazing.  She is amazing because of God.  God gave her the strength to live a life full of indescribable joy and indescribable heartache.  None of us can comprehend the courage she needed.  No one can comprehend being the parent of God.  However, Mary is not God, she is not Jesus, you cannot get to Heaven by praying to Mary.  Jesus Himself tells us that He is the only way.  THE ONLY WAY.  Please know that while Mary should be honored, she should not be an idol and she cannot be a replacement for Jesus.  He is the WAY…follow HIM and He will make your paths straight.  

Monday Devotional

This is a prayer priority of mine, so when this devotional came in my inbox I had to share.

This from Bible Gateway NIV Devotions for Moms

Someone once remarked, “The closer we get to someone, the more our impression will depend upon who they are rather than what they do.” Counterfeits don’t fool many, especially family members. If we want our families to adopt the spiritual principles we believe in, we’ll have to model them with sincerity. Living this kind of life out before our husbands and children and the world means showing them the “real thing” and not just some semblance.

When Joel writes about rending our hearts and not our garments, this is what he means. Anyone can look like they belong to God on the outside, tearing their outer garments in grief about their sinful state the way an Old Testament priest might. But those with genuine faith rend their hearts. They open their hearts to God and to others for inspection.

We can’t fake it with our kids. We won’t be able to fool our husbands. The longer they live with us, the more their impression will be of who we truly are, not just what we do.

1.5.14

Titus 2:11-14

11 For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. 12 It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, 13 while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.