Posts belonging to Category Christian Success



Fulfilling Prophesy…

Fulfilling ProphesyFulfilling Prophesy

(Isaiah was written around 800 years before Christ)

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor (in spirit). He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favorIsaiah 61:1-2a

Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside. He was teaching in their synagogues, and everyone praised him.

He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:

 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
    because he has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
    and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
     to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” (Isaiah 61:1-2)

Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him.  He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” Luke 4:14-21

Jesus said, You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, John 5:39

He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.” Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. Luke 24:44-45

AMEN!!!

Fit for Purpose

God wants us to be fit for His purpose. We often face trials and tribulations to increase our spiritual growth to ensure that we can do the job He has chosen for us to do. Most manufacturing firms employs a person to deal with their quality control. It will be his or her job to ensure that goods leaving the factory outlet is of a high standard and quality. Some factories will sell poor quality goods at discounted prices to customers or they will throw them away.
If they continue to produce inferior products sooner rather than later the reputation of the business would be damaged and referrals from consumers would be very low. In the same way God is perfecting in us His good works. God wants our work to be excellent and at a high standard. That’s why the psalmist wrote Lord, how excellent is your name throughout the earth.
We serve an excellent God who wants us be excellent too. Don’t worry about about those difficult circumstances he is preparing you to do excellent work. Through adverse circumstances you will learn to trust Him and lean on His words to bring about change in you. You will have more of Him and less of you bearing more spiritual fruits, making you fit for His purpose. Unless we are shaped and molded by his word we are not fit for His purpose.

Who will save us?

Save me. Who can save us? Who has the power to save me? Can Superman save us or Captain Marvel save us? No, these are make-believe heroes written in fiction to entertain us. So, who in all of history came to save us? I only know of one man who was sent from His Father to be born among us. You might know Him or you may not but whatever the answer He came in obedience to His Father to claim us as His own. This man wasn’t great looking or ten feet tall He was quite ordinary until He spoke and commanded demons to leave and a wither hand to heal. (Isaiah 53:2; Matthew 12:10) He performed miracles and spoke wisdom to crowds with authority from on high. (Matthew 28:18) He was a man of ordinary means sent from on high to do extraordinary feat. He was like you and me but He was different because He drew His strength from His Father. (John 15:1-8) This man fed on every word that came from His Father’s mouth. This man’s Father is the ruler of this world who spoke everything into existence. (Genesis 1) This Son worship His Father’s every word with thanksgiving and praise and when the Father told His Son to go and save us. (Matthew 6:9) He did without question. Who is this man?

Who is this man?

Who is this man? This man was given a name that means ‘our Savior’ and Savior means deliverer. (John 4:42) Why were we given a deliverer? Thousands of years ago when this Father which we will call God put into existence this world He had a garden where He had a couple. This couple was the first humans and their names were Adam and Eve. Adam and Eve took care of the garden for God. God had but one rule that was the tree in the center of the garden was not to be eaten. That tree was called ‘the knowledge of good and evil’ and if they ate from that tree they would die a spiritual death. One rule was given to them but one day a serpent came into that garden and enticed the woman to eat the fruit and she did as well as her husband. That day they brought sin into this world and the couple was cast out of the Garden and Eden to live off the sweat of their brow and to eat from the ground. (Genesis 3) Why do we need a deliverer? For the sin that enter this world through Adam and Eve. Each generation of people continue in their sin and the sin got worse and worse until God devised a plan that would change human life and He gave His people the Ten Commandments. (Exodus 20) Now, the Ten Commandments were given as a law to be kept where they would also give pure animals (Leviticus 4) to be sacrifice if they committed these sins. The high priest carries the blood of animals into the Most Holy Place as a sin offering, but the bodies (animals) are burned outside the camp. (Hebrews 13:11) The Ten Commandment did not stop sin but it enticed them to do worse sins in rebellion against the Ten Commandments and God. So, who is this man our Savior?

Who is this man our Savior?

God heard the cries of His people who were struggling with sin and the harshness of their environment. God sent His One and Only Son to be born of a virgin so that He will carry on the plan to save us from eternal damnation. Our Savior grew up in this harsh environment and lived among God’s people. He endured being different from others and lived a blameless life among others. (2Corinthians 5:21) God had a plan for our Savior’s life and when He was old enough He executed that plan and gathered around Himself followers. He drew His strength from His Father through abiding in His Father (John 10:30) our Savior grew stronger until He was taken into custody. (Luke 22) They were trying our Savior on the case that He committed treason against His government. Treason is when you are disloyal to your government for instance: when you do not give alliance to your king but to someone else. Our Savior was not like by many religious leaders and for that reason they incited the people against our Savior and told the court to crucify Him. (Luke 23) What the people did not know was this was the plan? God needed His Son to go through this so that He would become that perfect sacrifice for His people. So, without a word our Savior walked outside the city with a cross on His back to Skull where they nailed His hands and feet to a cross. Our Savior died and then He rose on the third day to the surprise of all and is seated at the right hand of the Father to reign for us and intercede for us. (Luke 24) And so our Savior also suffered outside the city gate (like the animal sacrifices) to make the people holy through His own blood. (Hebrews 13:12) Our Savior’s own blood makes us pure through the giving us His life for us. (Acts 20:28) So, God’s plan worked with the death of His Son we can have eternal life. The word says “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and an only Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16) This death cancels out our sin for all times and it gives us new life in Him if we choose. Let us, then, go to Him outside the camp, bearing the disgrace He bore. (Hebrews 13:13) We do not need to clean up or dress up just come as you are and our Savior will wash you white as snow and He will give you His white robe. Acts 22:16; Luke 15:22) Believe that our Savior came as a baby, died on a tree, resurrected and is seated at the right hand of the Father.  (Acts 16:31) Believe that you are desperate and lost without your Savior and then turn and repent of your sins. (Acts 11:21) Our Savior commands all people everywhere to repent and be saved. (Acts 17:30)

Our Savior saves but not this earth for here we do not have an enduring city (earth), but we are looking for the city that is to come. (Hebrews 13:14) This city will come to an end and we will live forever looking forward to our Savior’s return. Our Savior will return when all His children are saved. (Revelation 7:13-17) Who is our Savior? Jesus Christ.

 

Thank you, Jesus Christ that you are my Savior who saved me from my sin. Thank you, Father that you gave your one and only Son to me to be sacrificed on a cross so that I would have eternal life forever. Thank you, Lord that you are master of my heart today.

I pray for your people who have not chosen you this day and struggle with sin and their own depraved heart. May they not continue in their sin any longer but Believe on Jesus Christ and be saved. Jesus says in His word “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28) I pray that your children will turn from the wicked ways and repent and be forgiven and live and eternal life with you. Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

 

 

Overcoming Stress and Anxiety…

Overcoming StressSearch me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Psalm 139:23

Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward (when you die) you will take me into glory. Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Psalm 73:23-26

For this is what the high and exalted One says—he who lives forever, whose name is holy: “I live in a high and holy place, but also with the one who is contrite (remorseful) and lowly (humble) in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite. Isaiah 57:15

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. James 4:10

Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge. Psalm 62:8

Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him. James 1:12

For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 2 Corinthians 4:17

AMEN!!!

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Sleepers

A young man was sleeping on the train. He was extremely tired with his mouth opened wide. The train stopped at the station. It was the final destination. It was the young man’s stop and he kept on sleeping. He was unaware of the fact that it was his final destination and he needed to get off the train. If he had stayed on train five minutes longer he would have woke up and missed his final destination. He would have ended up in another city. A place not of his chosen destiny. Now that’s scary.
The young man was in deep sleep while his fellow passengers departed from the train. Two female passengers boarded the train and they thought he was funny sleeping on the train and they laughed at him. In contrast, a male passenger read the situation differently and tapped the sleeper on his shoulder to wake him. The sleeper jumped out of his seat and he hurriedly ran off the train. He was so relief that a stranger had cared enough to wake him.
The story of young man sleeping on the train is not dissimilar to the vast major of people who are sleeping their way through life without the knowledge of our Lord, Jesus Christ. Why? The gods (philosophies and lies) of this world has blinded them from the truth. The question is who should remind them of the truth. Strangers like you and me. We need to remind the sleepers of John 14:6. In John 16: Jesus answered,”I am the way, the light and the truth and no one enter into the kingdom of God except through him. Like the young sleeper on the train in our story, sleepers will be relief to know that we woke them up to know that Jesus loves them and they haven’t missed their final destination to heaven through Jesus.

What Is So Great About Sinning?

Why are people so prone to, not only sin, but to revel in it and to encourage others to join them? There are two quick answers that I can think of.

Number one: Man has a sinful nature that compels us to sin. Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me. Psalm 51:5 (KJV)

Number two: It’s fun! A fool finds pleasure in evil conduct, but a man of understanding delights in wisdom. Proverbs 10:23 (KJV) Sin has to be fun or no one would do it. What’s fun about sin is that it is forbidden. There is a materialistic reward through sin; but, of course, all things of this materialistic world will not survive.

When I was a small child, I would go into the kitchen and find a way to get into the cookie jar without my mom catching me. If I was successful, I had a cookie, and I thought I was so crafty. Later in my teens, I would become involved in more serious matters; matters that were not only against my parent’s rules, but also against the law. It was a thrill to get away with my habits and recreational dabbling. I knew what I was doing was sinful, but what the hey? I wasn’t going to die soon. That’s what everybody thinks, but the Bible clearly states, What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes”. James 4:14 (NIV) We are not guaranteed our next breath.

I was not ignorant of God and Jesus. I had accepted Jesus when I was thirteen years old, but it was a superficial experience. I knew who He was and what He did on the cross, but He was certainly not the Lord of my life. It wasn’t until I was married to my beautiful wife and we had three little boys that the Holy Spirit began to work in my life.

My wife, a woman of a Pentecostal back ground, had our sons going to the local Assemblies of God church, and it was my chore to take them to the church on Wednesday nights for their Royal Rangers meeting. At first, I waited in the car in the parking lot for them to come out. After some time, I would go into the service in the main sanctuary, but I would be sure to sit in the back in case one of those Christians wanted to talk to me. That way, if I saw someone approaching me, I could just slip out the door.

Little did I know that I was being drawn by the Holy Spirit into the services. One night, I was sound asleep in my bed when I sat up wide awake. I felt compelled to get down beside the bed and accept Jesus as my Lord and Savior….. for real this time.

This over night conversion did not “cure” me of my addiction to cigarettes. It did not stop me from going after work to have a few beers with the guys, and it certainly did not keep me from ingesting and smoking drugs. What happened, however, was that I was serious about my relationship with Jesus. As I continued to worship him in church and studied the bible, those things began to lose importance to me. I quit going for beers. I quit smoking tobacco cold turkey after several attempts. The hardest thing to overcome was my mental addiction to the drugs. I was not physically addicted as with the cigarettes, but my mind still wanted to indulge in the numbing effects of the chemicals. Finally, praise God, I was able to overcome that desire through the strength of the Holy Spirit.

I am a Christian, now, but I am also a sinner. I look back on the sins I committed in the old days, and I am ashamed of them. I sin today, but I am convicted of that sin right away. It’s like the Holy Spirit taps me on the shoulder and says, “You know you shouldn’t have had that thought about the guy that cut you off in traffic.” I know that I will commit sins in the future, but I have the assurance in Jesus that the sins of the past, present and future are forgiven.

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38&39 (NIV)

Daily Encouragement…

Daily EncouragementPaul writes, My goal is that they (you and me) may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Colossians 2:2-3

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. Romans 15:4

God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope set before us may be greatly encouraged. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. Hebrews 6:18-19a

For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 2 Corinthians 4:17

May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 15:5-6

Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you. 2 Corinthians 13:11

AMEN!!!

Will being Christened get you to heaven?

I received an email offer to purchase Christening gowns for my newborn angel’s Christening, which is interesting because I don’t have a newborn. The company also offers children’s apparel for baptisms and other special occasions because I should “make every moment last.”

That leads me to the question, “Last for how long?” Most importantly to consider, “Will it last for eternity?”

Baby Christenings and baptisms are cute ceremonies and to some extent demonstrate a commitment to God by the child’s parents. But what does it directly do for the child? Is it effective in any way for entrance into the Kingdom of Heaven?

What if you asked someone, “Why do you believe you are going to heaven when you die?” and they answered, “Because I was Christened as a baby,” or, “Because I was baptized as a baby”? Would they be correct? Can they really be certain they are going to heaven because of an infant ceremony?

In his letter to the Romans, Paul says, “That if you will confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart, man believes for obtaining righteousness and with the mouth confession is made for salvation … For whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved … So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing through the word of God.”

John wrote, “As many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name.” John also recorded Jesus saying, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. And I give to them eternal life, and they will never perish, neither will anyone snatch them out of my hand.”

When the Philippian jailer asked Paul and Silas, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” they replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved.”

When Peter preached on Pentecost, the people asked, “What shall we do?” Peter answered “Repent.” After healing the lame man, Peter told the crowd, “Repent, therefore, and be converted, so that your sins may be blotted out.”

In all of these verses, we see a need of action on the part of the one who is to receive eternal life. Peter speaks of repentance, Paul of confession, Paul and John of believing, John of receiving Him, Jesus and Paul of hearing. These are all cognitive acts. They are decisions made based upon hearing the gospel message and for the listener to understand he/she is a sinner and thus is in need of a Savior, of a need to repent, and a need to call upon Jesus for salvation. Babies cannot do any of these things.

A person is held accountable for his/her decision to accept Christ and call upon Him for salvation or to reject Christ. Parents actions and faith do not transcend to their children. There is no example anywhere in the Scriptures of a baby being baptized. When Paul and Silas told the jailer his whole household would be saved, it doesn’t mean there were infants in his home. When the Holy Spirit fell on those gathered at the home of Cornelius, it was on those who heard the word spoken by Peter. Hearing means understanding; again babies cannot comprehend.

Do not fall for the argument that if all of Cornelius family and if all of the Philippian jailer’s household was saved there must have been babies there and therefore babies can be saved. There are no babies in my household. Do not read things into the Scriptures that are not there.

If you believe that you will enter heaven when you die because you were Christened or baptized as an infant, please consider what the Bible has to say. You must personally come to Christ to seek forgiveness and salvation.

You will never be anonymous

Jesus Feeds the Five Thousand. In John 6: 5-13 we read:
5 When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” 6 He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do.
7 Philip answered him, “It would take more than half a year’s wages[a] to buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!”
8 Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up, 9 “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?”
10 Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” There was plenty of grass in that place, and they sat down (about five thousand men were there). 11 Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish.
12 When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, “Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.” 13 So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten.

The above verses are taken from a well known scripture of Jesus feeding the multitude of people with five loaves and two fishes. He demonstrated compassion in a practical way. He didn’t send the crowd away hungry. They were fed spiritually with the word and physically with a feast. We are taught best when our stomach are full. What we should consider here is that if we are not in the limelight or the main centre of attention its doesn’t mean you are anonymous. You are well know to God as his child. Listen, the gospel John recalled the unnamed boy unreservedly handing over his grocery to either Philip or Andrew. He was an anonymous person in the gospel of Saint John as there was no mention of his parentage. He was recorded in the gospels of Matthew or Mark. Jesus Knew him. He knew that the boy would give the loaves and fishes to the disciplines without making a fuss or murmuring. The boy’s act of kindness for the Kingdom of God and the great miracle performed by Jesus are now recorded throughout the history of mankind. Everything that you do for the lord, do it in love without complaining and without wanting to exalt yourself over the pastor and they will live far beyond your lifetime. You will never be anonymous as your name is written down in the lambs book of life.
Antony Douglas, author of “Your Change is Coming.” You can download my ebook freely from Smashword or Kobo, Overdrive and Apple.

Death

 

Death is a stimulant-motivator that moves us toward Christ Jesus.

We are not asked by our parents to come into this world.  We are not informed about coming into the world consisting of pain, suffering, hurt, some happiness, death, illnesses, disorders, etc. It is impossible to return to our mothers’ wombs.  Some existentialists would argue this is a reason human beings must exercise their freedom to make decisions by making choices that are egocentric.  Because we were not given freedom to come to the world do not mean that our conscious freedom must be self-centered.  Unable to make conscious decision does not mean we must have total self-gratification.  Though we are not given options to choose do not implied we are free from responsibilities for personal choices.

Solomon was a man whom biblical God gave wisdom.  Therefore, we must be open-minded and be willing to learn from what he had to say about life: Ecclesiastics 3:1-3:

1For everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven:

This establishes the self-evident truth: human activities are appointed and how the creator of the universe has designated time of delight or pleasure of living in this world.

2 A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;

We see this verse in light of all biblical general understanding. Our parents decide to have sex and enjoy the process by giving us birth.  Once we are born, the world and people take over and determine when we are going to die.  This may seem that the world and human beings are powerful, but true power resides in triune God who is Self-existence.  In addition, we plant seeds into the ground just like metaphorically giving birth and we cultivate the seeds just like parents cultivate babies who come into the world.  However, ultimately, we plant in order to take back potential fruits of those plants.

In this analogy, we learn about the gospel of Jesus Christ.  We are born into wicked world.  Death is one of the nouns or things in the world and there is a season or appointed reason for us to die.  We must die to experience the ultimate pleasure that derived from God, which is always being in an intimate fellowship with triune God. Jesus Christ had two natures: human body without sin and infinite attributes of God. Jesus had to die and resurrect for us in order to provide wicked or fallen human beings opportunity by making grace available to us who embrace total dependency, trust, and embrace His historical teachings of salvation for humanity found only in the Bible. May God give you grace to embrace.

3a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;

People killed human body of Jesus thinking that they would get rid of Him.  Unsecured people felt threatened by the lifestyle and teachings of Jesus Christ because through unspoken understanding (deep subconscious realization) and spoken understanding (conscious awareness), Jesus Christ was infinitely superior to human beings, Satan, and demons which took forms of false ranking authorities.  People killed Jesus Christ, but triune God raised Him by way of resurrection.  Again, God has a purpose and season for your birth. God has a season and purpose for your death. Most people are going to die in this side of eternity.  Jesus Christ is the only way, only truth, and only life that we must embrace to experience eternal joy and pleasure in the presence of triune God.

Forgiving Sin…

Forgiving SinSalvation (being forgiven) is found in no one else, for there is no other name (Lord Jesus) under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12

“Why does this fellow talk like that? He’s blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” Immediately Jesus knew in his spirit that this was what they were thinking in their hearts, and he said to them, “Why are you thinking these things? Which is easier: to say to this paralyzed man, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, take your mat and walk’? 

But I want you to know that the Son of Man (Jesus) has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the man, “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home. ”He got up, took his mat and walked out in full view of them all. This amazed everyone and they praised God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!” Mark 2:7-12

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Colossians 3:12-14

AMEN!!!

Image: Lake Malawi, Africa

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Victory over Death…

Victory over deathWho can live and not see death, or who can escape the power of the grave? Psalm 89:48

Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens. Our God is a God who saves; from the Sovereign Lord (Jesus) comes escape from death. Psalm 68:19-20

But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:22-23

For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”

“Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?”

The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 15:53-57

AMEN!!!

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How Can I Forgive?

I am no longer angry at the person
I no longer experience resentment (re-living the negative emotions associated with the person/event)
I give up all claim to punish the person for the offence

embrace

What Does Forgiveness Look Like?

Forgiveness can be messy, it is a process. It involves healing of brokenness; it involves words, actions, and emotions. Forgiveness is rarely an all or nothing affair, and it can be easy to question if you will ever move towards forgiveness.

Because, forgiveness is an internal and personal state, it will look differently for everyone. It is complex (emotionally, physically, and spiritually). It takes time to heal internally. Feelings of bitterness and reactivity may continue to surface; this doesn’t mean there is no forgiveness. Forgiveness is a process. It is helpful to have a personal concrete and positive concept of what forgiving will look like.

For example the above concepts of forgiveness state what a person will not be wanting, not feel or no longer experience. To move forward in forgiveness it helps to consider what I do want to feel and how I will know that I am feeling that way. It helps to know what I will be experiencing, and what I will be looking for.

 

urgent care sketch by ramona taylor

How can I move forward in forgiveness?

Consider:

When, I no longer want to punish what will I want instead? (Wishing them well, wanting to see them get some help…).

When I am no longer angry at the person what am I feeling instead? (A sense of sadness, or loss, disappointment, regret, maybe ready to place anger on the situation rather than the offender).

What thoughts and actions will indicate that I am feeling a desired way (laughing at the person’s jokes, exchanging greetings when passing).

When I am no longer re-experiencing negative feelings (resentments), what will I be experiencing instead (seeing changes, seeing growth, speaking truthfully).

 

Helpful tips for processing forgiveness.

  1. Acknowledge feelings of hurt, anger, or shame and commit to doing something about them.
  2. Identify and focus on the offensive behavior (rather than the person) that has caused harm to you. This could be relational harm, emotional harm, physical harm or spiritual harm.
  3. Make a conscious decision to let go of seeking revenge, or nursing the grudge. Move toward forgiving thoughts or language. For example, replace derogatory references to the offender (“the jerk”) with their name.
  4. Remind yourself that you have a good reason to forgive (to experience healing, to move on, to be a role model, to act out my faith)
  5. When thinking about the offender, remind yourself that they are human and that their actions say more about their suffering or brokenness than about you.
  6. Accept the pain you’ve experienced without passing it off to others. Recognize that you may be unintentionally victimizing yourself or causing those around you to suffer in response to the pain you have experienced.
  7. Choose to extend goodwill and mercy toward the offender by wishing for their well-being.
  8. Think about the times when you have been released from a resentment. Be open to feeling that emotional relief again, and find ways to grow from the experience.
  9. Realize the paradox of forgiveness: as you let go and allow yourself to forgive offenders, you will experience release and healing.

 

by Ramona Taylor 8/2014

The Lord is faithful

Finally, brothers, pray for us that the message of the Lord may spread rapidly and be honored, just as it was with you. And pray that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men, for not everyone has faith. (2Thessalonians 3:1-2)

Paul was writing to the Thessalonians asking for prayer so that good news of Jesus Christ would spread swiftly and would be received by all. Paul felt that we had a short time before the Lord would come back; so let us be quick with our prayers. The word honored here means that we would receive the word of God as the real truth. Again, Paul says pray that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men and Paul implies that even though you are Christian if you do not have faith you are wicked and evil men. For example: If we get the call from God to go to a foreign country and your Christians friends do not support you and they try to change your mind they are consider to be wicked and evil men. Surround yourself with common interest people who will pray with you for your mission and ask the Lord to deliver you from wicked and evil men.

But the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one. (2Thessalonians 3:3)

The Lord says in His word “I will never leave you, nor forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5) You can trust His word because our Lord is faithful. When we come before the Lord in prayer asking Him to strengthen and protect us from the evil ones; He does it in His way. His way is not our way but His way is better because He has a plan for us. That plan that He has for us we do not know at this time but He does. (Romans 1:33-34) We are being made in the image of Christ and through His working in us we continue to evolve and change to be used by Him. Paul’s repetition on prayer is our communication and communion with our Father God that develops our relationship with Him. We need a two way conversation going on between us so that we can learn to hear and follow the Lord’s leading.

We have confidence in the Lord that you are doing and will continue to do the things we command. (2Thessalonians 3:4)

Again, Paul is confident in the Lord for the people of Thessalonica because He knows that Jesus is faithful. Even though Paul is in chains for Christ he has seen for himself that the Lord has provided, strengthen, protected him and changed him into a Christ follower. Paul in the scriptures before chapter 3 in Thessalonians commanded the church of Thessalonica in holiness, godly living, and to explain certain beliefs, especially concerning the status of believers who die before Christ’s return. We have confidence in the Lord to do these things we have no confidence in our flesh. (Philippians 3:3) We can’t do this walk on our own we need confidence in the Lord to do it for us. This is the faith we need to see that God is in control. When I shared with my family and friends that I was going to Russia they had mixed emotions. You are crazy, awesome we will pray, you can’t go, and when are you going? My faith is in the Lord’s faithfulness for me; not in my friends or family.

May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance. (2Thessalonians 3:5)

May (to be possible; to be able) the Lord direct your hearts. It could be impossible to direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance. The Lord says in His word “do not harden your hearts.” (Hebrews 3:8) What would harden one’s heart? The rich man came to Jesus and asked “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?” Jesus replied, “Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, honor your father and mother, and love your neighbor as yourself.” The young man says “all these I have kept.” “What do I lack?” Jesus answered him, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” The young man was saddened because he had much wealth. Jesus goes on and says, “I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” Then the disciples asked “Who can be saved?” Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:16-26) What could harden one’s heart? Having too much of something that one does not want to give up will harden your heart. This one thing could keep your heart from being directed into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance. If we are trying to make our heart follow Christ like the young rich man did we will fail. But if we follow the Lord’s will He will direct our heart and then God will make all things possible.

Save us from the wicked and evil men who devour and rob God’s people from accomplishing the Lord’s desires in their life. Let us stand with confidence that God has a plan for each an ever believer who desires to do God’s will. Let us throw off the chains of unbelief and embrace the faith of Christ; that all things are possible for those who believe in Jesus Christ. So, stand firm and draw strength, protection, and the Lord unfailing love as our banner. Let us, throw up our arms in surrender or abandonment to the King who makes all things happen Jesus Christ name. Amen.

Thank you, Jesus Christ for giving us the confidence to strive out in you to the outermost regions to preach the gospel. Thank you, Lord for giving us strength to walk away from the name sayings who do not believe. Thank you, Father for your Son who inspires us to greater heights then we could ever imagine for ourselves.

 

Do you feel rejected? Unwanted? Lonely? That you’re just not good enough?

You may be one of those individuals who throughout your life has been told that you’re just not good enough.

 

Maybe your parents called you “stupid” or asked why couldn’t you be like your brother or sister – or even the neighbor’s kid.  Your parents may have even thrown you out and told you to never come back.

 

You could be an orphan because your mom abandoned you at childbirth and no one has adopted you.  Your whole life has been in an orphanage or going from one foster home to another or you find yourself living on the street doing anything to survive or you are living with someone who abuses you.

 

You could have grown up as the child of parents who are constantly drunk or on drugs and they beat you or have you steal for them or sexually abuse you.

 

Maybe you tried out for sports or a cheerleading team or the band or choir, but you were cut from the squad because you just wasn’t good enough

 

Maybe you have applied for work and were told that others had better qualifications than you do.

 

You were passed over by your peers because you weren’t smart or weren’t pretty or didn’t have money, or they thought you were weird.

 

Or perhaps there came a time in your life when your spouse left you and your kids don’t want anything to do with you.

 

Rejection.  You have experienced it time and time again.  Maybe you have begun to believe all of the things they say about you – you’re no good; you have no purpose; and you will never be worth anything.

 

You don’t know what real love is like You have never experienced it.  You desperately want it, but don’t know where to find it.

 

You want acceptance.  You want someone to see the real you and want to be your friend.

 

You want purpose.  You want hope.  You want to know that there is a reason you exist and that there is a day coming in which things will be better.

 

You want someone to know and care that deep down inside, you are hurting.  You want someone who will be with you in the difficult times.  You want someone to talk to.  You want someone who will always be with you.

 

I have good news.  God says that He loves you.  Yes, God loves you where ever you are right now.  He said He would never leave you nor forsake you.  He says that you can’t even imagine the things that He has prepared for those that love Him. He wants to adopt you as His child and make you one of His heirs. He says you can come to Him now without fear of rejection and without fear of being told, “You’re not good enough.”

 

When you die (and all of us will), He will take you to be with Him forever.  He will wipe away all of your tears and there will be no more pain nor sorrow nor sickness.

 

The amazing thing is He offers all of this to you as a gift.  It is free.  There is nothing you can do to earn His promises or buy them.  He says, “Come unto me all of you who are burdened and I will give you rest.”  He also promises He will feed you and clothe you.

 

An ancient writer said this, “I have been young, and now am old.  I have never seen the righteous forsaken or his children having to beg for bread.”

 

Personally, I have had some very difficult times in my life, and I can say that God has delivered me out of all of my troubles.

 

How do you receive this gift?  How do you become a child of God?

 

God says, “You must be born again.” How can you born again?  In the Bible, God explains that to be born again means to be saved. You can be saved today. How?

First, you have to understand that God is perfect.  Anyone who is not perfect is called a sinner.  Well, we are all sinners.  Those who have ridiculed you are sinners.  Those who seem to be really good and perfect and happy are sinners.  Why are they sinners?  Because they are not perfect.

Here is Gods test.  Have you ever stolen something?  Then you are a sinner.  Have you ever told a lie?  You are a sinner.  Have you ever wished you could kill someone?  Have you ever had sex with someone who was not you spouse? Have you used the name of God as profanity? Then you are a sinner. God plainly states that all of us are sinners and none of us are perfect like He is.

Because you are a sinner, one day you will die.  God said that is the penalty for being a sinner.  That’s how we know everyone is a sinner because we know everyone will die and when we do, we will face God’s judgment.  Those who appear before God as a sinner, will spend an eternity in a place of torment called hell.

But if everyone is a sinner, how do you escape this judgment?  By being born again. Because God loved you so much He sent His Son, Jesus, to die in your place.  Although we cannot understand how, God said my sins and your sins were laid upon Jesus and He died in our place. He became our substitute. It is like you owed a huge debt that you could never repay and then someone offered to pay it for you.

After his death, Jesus was buried in a tomb, but He didn’t stay there.  After three days and three nights, He rose from the dead and went to heaven.  Because He overcame death, He has the power to raise you from death as well.

God commands everyone, everywhere to repent. Repentance means that now that you understand that you are a sinner, that you want a different life.  Knowing that lying, stealing, cheating, and using God’s name as profanity angers God, you want to change your life to do things that please Him.  And it begins by admitting to God that you have sinned.  Then, the next step is to simply believe that Jesus was the One who bore your sin, died in your place. was buried, and Whom God resurrected.  Because Jesus did all of these things for you, He can save you from the penalty of your sins and torment in hell, and that is why He is called he Savior.

The Bible says, “as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name,” and, “whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

“Whosoever” includes you. “Shall be saved” means not maybe, nor might be, but without a doubt.

Just take God at His word that believing you will be saved.  No church, no organization, no group, no good works can save you.  God does the saving.  All of it!

God’s plan of salvation is very simple: You are a sinner. Therefore, unless you believe on Jesus Who died in your place, you will spend eternity in hell. If you believe on Him as your crucified, buried, and risen Savior, you receive forgiveness for all of your sins and His gift of eternal salvation.

You might think, “Surely, it cannot be that simple.” Yes, it is that simple! It is what the Bible says. It is God’s plan. I encourage you to believe on Jesus and receive Him as Savior today. If you understand and accept that you are a sinner and if you want to become a child of God, then right now, wherever you are, lift your heart to God. Talking to God is called prayer. One sinner in the Bible prayed, “God be merciful to me a sinner.”

That’s where you begin with God.  Admit you are a sinner and ask Him to save you.  If you are struggling for words, here is an example – but understand it’s not an exact set of words that saves you, it’s truly desiring to have God in your life.  Here is the example prayer, “Oh God, I know I am a sinner. I believe Jesus died on the Cross in my place. I believe He shed his blood for me and that though He died and was buried, He rose from the grave. I ask you to save me.  I thank You for the forgiveness of my sins, the gift of salvation and everlasting life, because of Your merciful grace. Amen.”

Now what do you do?  Ask God to lead you to a group of believers who love Him and will teach you about Him.