“ARE YOU REALLY FORGIVEN?”

“Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord will never count against them.”

Romans 4:8 NIV

Read:  Hebrews 9:22-28

 

Have you ever offended someone or caused a wrong to someone?  Of course you have, it is no badge of honor…but we all have.   As good and righteous as we want to be or think we are, we are all struggling with the evils of this world.   Sometimes we let our guard down and we fail someone with our words or actions…or both.

What do you do then?   Maybe you mumble a weak “I’m sorry” and never think of it again.  Does the person you offended or hurt accept your weak apology and never think of it again or are they still hurting?   Do you care enough to ask?

 

When these things happen, we have an obligation to correct our wrong.   There may be times when a sincere “I am sorry!” is adequate and there are other times restitution is needed. A gift or token with a note may be more responsible at other times to get your message across that you are really sorry.

Still, there is more to forgiveness than an “I’m sorry”, even if it is sincere.    You may have received an acceptance of your apology from the one you hurt, but there is another you offended with your words or actions.  GOD.

The other person may have forgiven you of your sinful act against them, but they cannot forgive you for GOD.   A few faiths teach the forgiveness of sins by another man.    No one can forgive you but GOD.   There is nothing more important when you have wronged another than personally going to GOD and asking for HIS forgiveness.

If you need to ever tell anyone “I’m sorry”, you need to ask GOD to forgive you as well.   No matter how large or small you feel your wrong doing was,  you need to acknowledge it and ask GOD to forgive you…every time.

Today’s prayer:  “MY FORGIVING SAVIOUR, Thank YOU for always forgiving me.   No matter how I stumble, YOU are there to pick me up and forgive my wrong words and actions.   Help me to communicate better my sorrow of my actions to others.  Amen.”

 

“TURN YOUR MESS INTO A MESSAGE!”

“But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life.”  1Timothy 1:16 NIV

Read:  1Timothy 1:12-17

Have you ever made a mistake?  What about taking a simple mistake and turning it into a real mess?  Did you ever do anything that you knew was wrong, but after a little false self justification you did it anyway?  Or maybe, the question should be; when was the last time?

It is common for us to want to forget those times.  We want to ‘sweep them under the carpet’ or ‘hide them in the closet’.  Neither ignoring or living with old mistakes is what we should do.

 

Do you want to get rid the mess you made?   As the adage goes; ’Turn your old mess into a new message’.   Once you have learned from your mistake, share your new found freedom with another.   You may help another from making the same mistake you made.

Paul had made a real mess of his life.   CHRIST called him to turn his old mess of a life into a new message of the gospel.    Paul understood sin and the failings of life and he understood those failings prepared him to take the gospel of our RISEN SAVIOUR to all.

Have you made a mess of things?   Ask JESUS to clean up the mess you created by forgiving you.   Then take that forgiveness and use it to help others who need to know what forgiven sins feel like.

You can turn your old mess into a new message for JESUS!

Today’s prayer:   “JESUS, Thank YOU for removing the messes I have made in my life.   Thank YOU for giving me the opportunity to turn the messes into messages to benefit others.   Amen!”

 

“A FULL BELLY AND AN EMPTY HEART?”

“The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.”
Psalm 126:3 NIV 

 
Read:  Psalm 126:1-6

Tradition has been to have plenty of family and food for Thanksgiving.   We are seeing our society opting for much less.   Now, it seems Thanksgiving Day is about food, football and shopping. True thanksgiving and family are being de-emphasised by much of America.

Thanksgiving has always been celebrated with food.   In the early 1600s, both the Pilgrims and Puritans celebrated days of thanksgiving.   The Pilgrims celebrated the time of a good harvest.   The Puritans celebrated in faithful observance in prayer and feasting.   By the 17th century the two times of thanksgiving blended into our society as Thanksgiving.

 

Several early presidents attempted to establish a day of thanksgiving for the country.   It was not until 1863 that a national day of thanksgiving was established by Abraham Lincoln.  It took almost another 80 years to establish Thanksgiving Day to be celebrated on the 4th Thursday of November.

 

Now, stores are open on Thanksgiving Day to celebrate more sales, not families or to be thankful of all GOD has supplied.   More and more Americans are forgetting the reason for a Holy Day and begging the stores to take their money.

What are you going to do on Thanksgiving Day?   Are you going to be thankful for all GOD has done for you or will you have a full belly with an empty heart?

Today’s prayer:  “OUR ETERNAL GOD, Thank YOU for the comforting us and supplying all our needs.   May we be truly thankful of all YOU have done for us.  May we make this day a day to celebrate and be thankful for YOU.   Amen.”

 

“HOW FAR WILL YOU GO?”

“My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”   John 14:2-3 NIV

 

Read:  John 14:1-31

 

Even the closest star is farther than you can ever go…probably farther than you can even comprehend.   The closest star is 4.22 light years from earth.   A light year is the distance it takes light to travel in one year.   That is about 24 trillion miles.   I believe that is more than a weekend getaway.

What is the farthest you have ever traveled?   Some have never traveled more than a few miles from home, while others routinely travel around the globe.   Distance is a relative term for each of us.
A day will come when you will make a final trip.  Are you prepared?   How far will you go?

 

Scripture doesn’t tell us the distance to Heaven.   But, we know it doesn’t take light years to get there.   We don’t have mileage to hell either.  But, it takes the same amount of time to get there as it does to get to Heaven.

If you have not decided where you are going, isn’t it time you did?   In less than a twinkle of an eye, you will make the trip to one or the other.   You need to make this one decision for all eternity.

How far are you going to go with your present life?   How many more miles are you going to trod all alone?   JESUS is just one step away.   Take that one step.   One step is as far as you have to go for all eternity.

Today’s prayer:   “JESUS MY SAVIOUR, Thank YOU for being near to me.  Help me to take that one step to be with YOU.  I know coming to YOU is only as far as I need to go.   Amen.”

 

“WHO DO YOU ANSWER TO?”

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”  Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV

Read:   Proverbs 3:5-12

Who do you answer to?  If you work in an office, you might say your office manager, Ms. Kelsey.  If you work in the sales department it’s your sales manager, John, who demands a higher and higher quota.  John answers to Bob, senior vice-president who answers to Mr. Stevens, President and CEO.   He then answers to the board of directors who are answerable to the stock holders.

If you are self-employed, you don’t have these layers of bureaucracy.  But, still you are answerable to your customer.  We are all answerable to someone.   Outside of business, we are answerable to our family and friends.

 
While we may feel responsible and answerable to others as we should, they all should be pretty far down the list. There is only one we all are ultimately answerable.

 
When is the last time you really took everything to GOD?  Everything you do and everything you don’t do is under the direction of your CREATOR.   You keep your boss at work informed of your activities, good and bad.  Are you communicating with GOD as well as you should?

Our verse tells us to trust in our LORD with all our heart and not lean on our own understanding.  We are to submit to HIM and HE will make our paths straight.   Submitting to our LORD is the ultimate ‘answer to’.

Our submission to GOD is more than an occasional prayer.   To be truly submissive and answerable to GOD we need to be in communication with HIM 24/7.   When was the last time you took your thoughts, not just your problems to GOD?

Today’s prayer: “GOD OF ALL, Thank YOU for being our LORD.  We need to be answerable to YOU.   Remind us throughout the days of our dependency upon YOU.  Amen.”

 

“DEFINITION OF COURAGE”

“I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.”  Philippians 1:20 NIV

Read: Philippians 1:19-30

Can you define courage?  The dictionary gives us a variety of definitions;  a willingness to confront agony, pain or fear, bravery, to act in the face of anxiety, strength in the face of obstacles or gallantry while facing a frightful situation.  These would make us sound like a knight in shining armor.

I recently read another definition that makes a lot more sense.   “Courage is doing exactly what GOD called you to do while ignoring your own fear.”  This courage has two hurdles.

One is doing ‘exactly’ what GOD has told us to do.   This means giving up on our ways

totally without altering HIS instructions.

Second is ‘ignoring’ our own fears.   When was the last time you gave in to your fear?    Giving into your fear is a lot like worrying.   Things we have worried about usually never happen as we thought.   Fear of something usually does not result in things happening as we feared.

Wouldn’t you rather have the courage which is offered by GOD rather than the fear which comes from our own lack of confidence and is taunted by Satan himself?

You have a choice.   Do you have the courage to do what GOD tells you to do?   HE believes in you to do HIS will.   Do you believe in GOD to do HIS will?   It takes courage!

Today’s prayer:  “GOD OF ALL, Thank YOU for believing in me when at times I falter.  Help me to accept the courage which comes from YOU alone.  May I use the courage YOU have given me to do only YOUR will.  Amen.”

 

“HE KNEW ALL ALONG!”

“The Lord knows all human plans; he knows that they are futile.”  Psalm 94:11 NIV

Read:  Psalm 94:8-15

Many are waking up this morning with selfish questions of what is going to happen to them and our nation with a newly elected president of these United States.  Some are happy with the outcome and some are in total disbelief.   Most are concerned with the future in any case.

With a nation so politically divided, we need to unite.   We need to unite in our churches.  While politics separate us, the love of GOD can unite us.  Instead, too many have put their faith in men and women.  Scripture tells us clearly where we have gone wrong and where we will go wrong.  We need to spend more time in HIS WORD in order to restore our nation and ourselves.

 

GOD knew all along what this election outcome would be.  HE knows all and understands all.   HE sees the big picture as we are wringing our hands while we look at a snapshot of a moment in time.

There is nothing that GOD does not know.   Why do we worry and stress over what we do not know and have no control over.  GOD has a plan, HIS plan.  We have a failed plan.

Let’s have a new plan…the plan GOD has always wanted.   GOD knew all along how we would react to these worldly events.  Yet, HE allowed us to reject HIS word and all the instructions HE gave us.  HE will not continue to allow our lack of respect for HIS plan.  We will not turn this country around in any voting booth.  We can turn this country around in our churches.

Now is the time to raise our voices to restore this nation to a people in love with our GOD.   Now is the time to make GOD the leader of this nation, not a person or a political party.   The U.S. was founded on the freedom to worship the one true GOD.   Our religious liberty is about worshiping the GOD of gods, the LORD of lords.   That is the only way we can turn this nation around.

Today’s prayer:  “LORD OF LORDS, Thank YOU for knowing all and putting up with our failures to depend upon YOU.   Help us LORD to grow in our faith of all YOU know and to follow YOUR will.  Amen.”

 

“HOW TO MAKE GOD LAUGH!”

“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'”  Jeremiah 29:11 NIV

Read:  Jeremiah 29:7-14

Do you know ‘how to make GOD laugh’ has become a new internet tag line.   Do you know how to make GOD laugh?

It is really not a riddle or a rhyme and it is not too difficult to figure out.   All you have to do is do whatever you want the way you want to do it without asking GOD for HIS help.  In fact, you don’t even have to do anything to make GOD laugh.  All you have to do is make plans on your own without consulting your LORD.

 

How foolish we are when we think we can do things our way.  However, you might find GOD smiling in approval when you are in obedience to HIS love.

 

GOD has a plan for you.  HE had plans for you upon creation.  Proverbs 16:1-3 gives us great insight to do all we do with GOD as our communicator.  “To humans belong the plans of the heart, but from the Lord comes the proper answer of the tongue. All a person’s ways seem pure to them, but motives are weighed by the Lord. Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.”

“Commit to the LORD whatever you do…”.  Do you talk with GOD?   GOD gives the desires of the heart to those who go to HIM in prayer not just for things wanted but also for all we are thankful.   GOD has a plan for you.   Do you want to know HIS plans for you?   Just ask HIM. 

Today’s Prayer:  “LORD,  Thank YOU for the plans YOU have for me.   Help me to understand and accept YOUR plans rather than to continue making plans on my own.  Amen.”

 

“DOUBLE JEOPARDY?”

“For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”  Hebrews 8:12 NIVRead:  Hebrews 8: 7-13

Our legal system in the United States is very different than the legal system in countries in much of the world.    We have a double jeopardy clause in the Fifth Amendment to the US Constitution which prohibits anyone from being prosecuted twice for substantially the same crime.

 

Each of us is protected from double jeopardy.   Even better than our legal system, GOD protects us from double jeopardy.  GOD promised HE will forgive our sins…not a sin…all of our sins.   GOD goes a step further.   HE promises to not only forgive our sins, HE also promises to forget our sins.

 
Once forgiven, always forgiven is more than a phrase you might have heard.  Once forgiven, always forgiven is a blessing from our LORD.

When GOD made HIS covenant with HIS people, HE made them a promise.  In Jeremiah 31:34, we read: “No longer will they teach their neighbor, or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,” declares the Lord. “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”

GOD tells us again in Isaiah 43:25: “…I am HE who…remembers your sins no more.”  Jesus reassured us of the same promise.   Our sins are forgiven and will not be remembered.

How can you thank our CREATOR?   Humbly.   Your sins can be forgiven and never remembered.   GOD does not subject HIS believers to double jeopardy.  This promise is available to all believers.   Are you a believer?   Isn’t it time you are?

Today’s prayer:  “My TRIUNE GOD, Thank you for loving me.   As undeserving as I am, I thank you for forgiving my sins and never remembering them again.  Amen.”