Forgiveness

 

Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us

 

The Lord’s prayer teaches us to pledge to forgive in the same way He forgives our trespasses against Him. Yet, to most of us Christians these are just vain words we say and we not only do not know the meaning of them, we are able to live our Christian life never examining those words, what they mean to God and also to us in our walk with Him. In essence we are telling God to deal with us in the same way we deal with other people who have sinned against us. The majority of Christians finds it difficult to forgive simply because forgiveness is not easy for most of us. We have a need to retreat and protect ourselves from those we know have the ability to hurt us. The more we have been hurt the more we need to protect ourselves. Some of us, we are so busy protecting ourselves, we project an emotional state of mind that lump everyone in the same batch. We have become so crippled emotionally that we are not capable of seeing the love around us and we cannot accept love of other people.

When we do not forgive, we tend to think that harboring resentment and bitterness towards those who hurt us somewhat amount to something toward the offender. We feel more in control because we are holding power over them. Some of us do not forgive simply because of fear because we don’t want to find ourselves again in the same position. We dig ourselves deep into holding onto the pain, the hurt, the humiliation as well as the offender who caused our pain.  It is like having a cassette player in our mind playing things over and over again as a reminder that you were victimized.  We find some sort of strange satisfaction in rehearsing those sick feelings. It is like playing the cassette in our mind to make sure we keep our hatred for the offender alive and fresh. We do not want to forget. We hold onto everything because we feel we should be compensated, somehow there should be some punitive damages. Some part of us wants vengeance for what we lost because of someone else. We find it difficult to forgive because our pride and self esteem have been injured and we have been humiliated. Over the years we build up so much resentment in our hearts, so much bitterness that we are like people who have injected themselves with some kind of poison running through their bloodstream. By the time we get there, we have learned to live like a rat in a cage.  We are clueless of the fact that we have actually built our own mental cage, stepped into it and threw away the key.

When we do not want to forgive, we find it easy to find hundreds of reasons to justify our behavior. We internalize them, and we learn to believe in what we tell ourselves. We feel if we forgive, the other person would be let off the hook and this cannot be. In our ill informed mind, we think the offender is free to go on with life while we are still suffering the consequences of the pain and humiliation suffered from their actions. I find people with very low self-esteem always go on and on about the fact that they were hurt because they were not appreciated, not loved enough and that people hurt them on purpose etc. It is an amazing and sad thing to watch Christians holding on to grudges for decades just because someone made them feel unloved or unappreciated. They simply cannot get over the disappointments and are not willing to forgive.

Please understand I am not talking about someone who has been raped or someone who has watched a loved one taken away by a bullet or something like that. I can imagine these tragedies are harder to forgive and they have nothing to do with our pride. While lack of forgiveness no matter what the situation in our live, how vile and deep someone violated us, it is a destroyer. It destroys our souls and relationships. Over the years we build up so much resistance to forgive the one who inflicted pain on us, that we allow the offender to have a hold on us even after decades.

The truth is, there is always freedom in Christ. The hurt inflicted on us does not have to overpower our lives. But, we cannot find this freedom unless we make the choice to forgive. Ultimately we have to make the choice to let go and allow ourselves to heal and be free. One of the sad things that I observed, it does not matter how well we know the Bible or how long we have been calling ourselves “Christians” but if we are not able to forgive, we cannot reach maturity in Christ either.

 

PRAYER:  Dear Lord, forgiveness is not easy, so I thank you for making a way for us to find freedom in you. I pray that we would choose forgiveness every time that we are hurt by someone else, knowing that your Word tells us not to seek for vengeance because vengeance is yours. I pray that you would soften the hearts of my brothers and sisters in bondage, they would learn to see their offenders in the same way you see them. Your grace would be flowing in their hearts they would not be discouraged but pursue forgiveness at any cost because it is your will daddy. May you be glorified in us my Lord Savior Redeemer!

 

Next Article will be on “How Do We Forgive”

 

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Emotional Affairs In “Christians” Homes

Emotional affairs may not be about sex, but it is certainly an extra marital affair and you’re definitely looking for something. An emotional affair is as powerful as a sexual affair and has the potential to destroy your marriage just as much. Some Christians are forced to live in marriages where emotional affairs on the part of the other spouse are as easy as breathing. As a result, there is a lack of emotional contact because the one who is doing the cheating finds it in their emotional affairs.  Some experts believe an emotional affair is more damaging than a physical one. As you spend more time thinking, anticipating. and fantasising about someone else, your partner suffers the consequences of you not being able to connect with him or she, and   the   intimacy between the two of you lessens considerably.  The need for an emotional affair indicates that the marriage is in trouble, for the more time you spend going from one emotional affair to the other, the situation between you and your spouse is not being worked on.  If you are having an emotional affair, you might kid yourself that there is no contact, but I have to ask, who exactly are you trying to convince? If you put it in the context of  Christians, we have contact and intimacy with God in our minds, our thoughts, and our hearts, so while your bodies might not be touching in an exchange, you certainly touch  the one of your fantasies with your senses and   violate him or her with your illusions. Let’s not kid ourselves in thinking only men have emotional affairs because both sexes are likely to engage in it.

If you call yourself a Christian, yet you find yourself living with what the Bible calls shameful lusts for years and years, then you belong to the group of people who probably have been living so much like a fool that God had to give you over to your desires. I know men and women who find that it is perfectly okay to be given to emotional affairs while thinking they are walking with God. Sadly, they find reasons to continue through reading the Bible. It is understandable if you are reading the Bible to make it fit your lifestyle, for I guarantee you that you will have no problem twisting God’s Word to make it suit your purposes. Nevertheless, there will be a time when He will call you on your lies and your illusions. Don’t be surprised if He asks you which Gospel where you living out?

Living emotional affairs one after the other simply puts you in the category of someone with a depraved mind, it which is one of the things that God considers   wickedness, evil, greed, depravity, arrogant, boastful, and so on. It is evil because it is sin against God. It is arrogant because you are feeding your own ego. It is having a depraved mind because you have a deficiency when it comes to moral choices and a complete lack of integrity. You have no fear of God in your heart and no regards for your spouse or yourself for that matter. A depraved mind is perverted and corrupted. It shows greed because you are not content with the person God has placed in your care to look after with love, respect, and dignity, and it certainly means that righteousness is not in you.

I know pastors and elders who give in to their basic instincts and allow themselves to live out this kind of deception. Then, instead of taking responsibility for their actions, they blame the women who have become the object of their affections. Often, they have something they exercise toward her that looks like hostility.  They really buy into the idea that it is not their fault but that the woman tempted them. I find strange that often, the woman in the church is not even aware that she is being violated by this so called minister. Remember how Adam tried that with God? “It was the woman’s fault.” However, it didn’t work with Adam, and it won’t work with you.  God who can see the heart, motive, and attitude knows better.  If you are in such situation, whatever your social standing in the church, I encourage you to stop blaming someone else and take responsibility for your own sin. As you do, ask God to take you out of this bondage and to put holy repentance into your heart that will change your behaviour toward Him, your spouse, and your children.

If you have been practicing such deceptive behaviour for years while calling yourself a Christian, remember it is easy to say we are Christian, but that remains to be seen. If I were in your place, I would beg God to take me back and make me one of His so that He could deal with me in the same way that He deals with His children  who are given to sin.

 

What is Backsliding?

Devotion

Jeremiah 3:22

“Return, faithless people; I will cure you of backsliding.” “Yes, we will come to you, for you are the LORD our God.

Backsliding comes in various degrees in the Christian faith. No one becomes a backslider over night and it is much more than being up and down in our Christian walk. It is rather a refusal to do God’s will that causes us to backslide. It is a process that we go through as our spiritual life with Him decline because it remains unattended by us. Backsliding is brought on by a spirit of disobedience to Him and the effect of our refusal to obey His Word will always cause our conscience to start slipping away. Slowly, the Word of God has no effect on us anymore. Next to our conscience, our heart becomes harder and harder to remain devoted to Him. By then, you do not have the strength to bother and soon you feel as if you are enjoying the illusion of freedom not having to focus so much on your life with Him. It gets worse when you realize how much strength, focus and commitment it takes to live out the Christian life. In your mind you might even start rationalizing it that you are simply taking a break from it all. Oddly, your body starts feeling like you are on a mini vacation that you would not want to come to an end.

Through the process of backsliding, the Holy Spirit warns us and brings various opportunities for us to grab onto Him, to stop the sloppy slide path we are on and turn away from it. At first, when we start backsliding we can see it so clearly that we are leaving behind the life we used to know. The intimacy, the oneness that used to be so sweet to the soul, the learning process, the tenderness of the conscience, the joy and rest we used to have etc.  We feel almost helpless, anxious and sad as we watch it all slipping away like water escaping through our fingers. As this is happening, you start looking at God like a distant memory as your desire to be devoted to Him is also fading away. Not only the strength to go back is not there, but we get discouraged before we even start since we realize how much effort we are going to need to get out of the backsliding mode. Before long, it feels as if not only we do not have brakes to stop but we are helpless in the process because inside, it feels like there is nothing to grab on to stop the declining process. By the time we get there, we are way too far in the backsliding process. The Holy Spirit has stopped pursuing us.

While you are backsliding you might even enjoy going through the motion of Church and socializing with other Christians, like you would attend a social club. Some of us still go to Church because we care what other people think. Nevertheless, deep in your heart, you are aware that all your values, priorities characters and everything else the Holy Spirit has worked hard to accomplish in you inwardly, are shifting back. This is a scary and dangerous place to be and anyone who can see it coming should not stop begging the Holy Spirit for help to have the heart revive. God does not let backsliding unpunished because it is a state that put us in the same wavelength as the unbelievers as we learn to live in appreciation of our own wickedness. When we reject and forsake our God, the only next step we have is to turn our hearts to new idols, simply because the void has to be filled. If not filled with God’s Word and the Holy Spirit, then the next choice is obviously worldly things. In these days, idols for us Christians are no different from the unbelievers. We “walk” the Christian walk while being consumed by the needs and care of this world. One of the biggest barriers to coming back to God is that we are really good at making ourselves feel that God will understand even though we are unhappy inside.

Beloved, being in a backsliding mode is like being aboard a derailed train with no driver on board.

PRAYER: May God guard our hearts from ever backsliding. May we cherish the grace and precious love we have in Him and may we never want to walk away from it all. My Lord, Savior, Redeemer and Master, please revive the hearts of those who are dead inside.

Submitting To God’s Purpose

Oswald Chambers Devotion

I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some —1 Corinthians 9:22

A Christian worker has to learn how to be God’s man or woman of great worth and excellence in the midst of a multitude of meager and worthless things. Never protest by saying, “If only I were somewhere else!” All of God’s people are ordinary people who have been made extraordinary by the purpose He has given them. Unless we have the right purpose intellectually in our minds and lovingly in our hearts, we will very quickly be diverted from being useful to God. We are not workers for God by choice. Many people deliberately choose to be workers, but they have no purpose of God’s almighty grace or His mighty Word in them. Paul’s whole heart, mind, and soul were consumed with the great purpose of what Jesus Christ came to do, and he never lost sight of that one thing. We must continually confront ourselves with one central fact— “. . . Jesus Christ and Him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:2).

“I chose you . . .” (John 15:16). Keep these words as a wonderful reminder in your theology. It is not that you have gotten God, but that He has gotten you. God is at work bending, breaking, molding, and doing exactly as He chooses. And why is He doing it? He is doing it for only one purpose— that He may be able to say, “This is My man, and this is My woman.” We have to be in God’s hand so that He can place others on the Rock, Jesus Christ, just as He has placed us.

Never choose to be a worker, but once God has placed His call upon you, woe be to you if you “turn aside . . . to the right or the left . . .” (Deuteronomy 28:14). He will do with you what He never did before His call came to you, and He will do with you what He is not doing with other people. Let Him have His way.

 

 

The Proper Perspective

Oswald Chambers Devotion

 

Thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ . . . —2 Corinthians 2:14

The proper perspective of a servant of God must not simply be as near to the highest as he can get, but it must be the highest. Be careful that you vigorously maintain God’s perspective, and remember that it must be done every day, little by little. Don’t think on a finite level. No outside power can touch the proper perspective.

The proper perspective to maintain is that we are here for only one purpose— to be captives marching in the procession of Christ’s triumphs. We are not on display in God’s showcase— we are here to exhibit only one thing— the “captivity [of our lives] to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5). How small all the other perspectives are! For example, the ones that say, “I am standing all alone, battling for Jesus,” or, “I have to maintain the cause of Christ and hold down this fort for Him.” But Paul said, in essence, “I am in the procession of a conqueror, and it doesn’t matter what the difficulties are, for I am always led in triumph.” Is this idea being worked out practically in us? Paul’s secret joy was that God took him as a blatant rebel against Jesus Christ, and made him a captive— and that became his purpose. It was Paul’s joy to be a captive of the Lord, and he had no other interest in heaven or on earth. It is a shameful thing for a Christian to talk about getting the victory. We should belong so completely to the Victor that it is always His victory, and “we are more than conquerors through Him . . .” (Romans 8:37).

“We are to God the fragrance of Christ . . .” (2 Corinthians 2:15). We are encompassed with the sweet aroma of Jesus, and wherever we go we are a wonderful refreshment to God.

Our Backsliding Breaks His Heart

Devotion

Jeremiah 2:2-3

“The word of the Lord came to me:  ‘Go and proclaim in the hearing of Jerusalem: ‘This is what the Lord says: “I remember the devotion of your youth, how as a bride you loved me and followed me through the wilderness, through a land not sown. Israel was holy to the Lord, the firstfruits of his harvest; all who devoured her were held guilty, and disaster overtook them,” declares the Lord.

Israel was His chosen one, His first family on earth. All He wanted in exchange was for them to be made Holy and demonstrate God’s holiness on earth so other nations might come to Him too. We see that God referred to them as His bride because He considered the covenant He made with them when He brought them out of Egypt was in the form of a marriage contract. He was exasperated when they violated His agreement with them. Yet if you look at those words He said to Jeremiah, they are also heart’s wrenching. I wonder if you can hear His broken heart through those words. Can you feel His pain of having been rejected? Even though they had rejected Him, they played the harlot with other gods; their hearts are filled with pretence toward Him as if He could not see they did not want Him. Yet, He was still pleading for them to return to Him.

Woe to anyone of us who do not cease the opportunity to make their lives right with Him. A time is coming where we will not be protected from His wrath which carries the same intensity as His love for us. Some of us might think this is will never be our case but several books in the Bible we are reminded that: “Such things were written in the Scriptures long ago to teach us. And the Scriptures give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently for God’s promises to be fulfilled” None of us are exempt to backsliding. We are always one step away from tragedies in our lives to stray from Him. When I say tragedies, I mean anything that causes us to take our eyes off of Him. It could be a man, a woman, and conflict in the family, low self esteem issues, financial problems, marriage breakdown, disappointments and so forth. Satan is always one foothold away from messing up with us. We have to learn to bear it all in His name. Learn to be obedient so that we can live this life in His will for us. Learn to live the holy life He commanded us to and learn to remain in His presence at all times.

 PRAY: Father God I pray that we learn to focus on you alone, our passion and love for you would never extinguish. Be the fire in our hearts so that we can end well as we wait with bated breath for your return Lord.

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His Wrath & His Love Are One In The Same!

Read Romans 1:19-23

 “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness, Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shown it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse; Because, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful, but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man, and birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things.”

 This is such a deep passage that we could get dozens of sermons out of it. For today we will just talk about God’s wrath which is obviously justified in the above verses. When I was not a Christian I did not care much about God’s wrath because I rationalized it so nicely in my mind that it softens things for me. Mind you most people, Christians and unbelievers alike, have the wrong idea about God’s wrath to begin with. One of the reasons we do take our time in coming to come, that is if we come at all, is because we have brought the bar so low, we see God just a tad higher than us. So, with our human ability to think we reason that we can bargain our way through heaven or that God will be gracious and will overlook certain things. I find there is a percentage of Christian who see God’s wrath as something that should not be there. As if God should not be associated with wrath at all because it is such a terrible thing. In effect, what they are doing is comparing God’s wrath according to human’s wrath which is an awful thing. These are just a few of the theories out there about His wrath.

 One of the beauties of knowing God is that you learn to appreciate His wrath because His wrath is as much part of who He is as His holiness and His love. His wrath is also as intense as His love and it’s also one of His attributes.  Those of you who are intimate with Him know that just because we no longer fear His wrath, does not touch your reverence for Him. If anything you have more reverence for Him because you know how much of His wrath you deserve, yet you are spared. Whether we talk about the New Testament or the Old Testament, the wrath of God is His indignation against all that is evil. I was talking to someone who reads the Bible all the time, but did not want to hear that in the heart of man there is evil. This person felt the word sin was more acceptable but not the word evil. But according to God’s standards sin is evil. Genesis 8:21 says: “the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth”

 Although God loves us, it is a mistake to think that because of His love we will be okay. If it was just for His love, there would not be a need for the Cross of Christ and everyone on earth would be saved.  Because His wrath is as intense as His love, He made provision through the Cross which is served as a propitiation to appease God’s demands in dealing with sin.  When Christ died on the Cross, He experienced the full wrath of God against sin. So it is not up to us to judge or make excuses for God’s wrath. At the moment of final judgement when all excuses are taken away, all pride, disobedience, need for power, greed, lust etc., and we stand there in front of Him, each one of us will know with no doubt whatsoever that we get exactly what we deserve.

 

PRAY: Lord God I thank you for who you are. I pray that those who profess to be Christians would get to know you with passion through intimacy. They would embrace all of you; they would learn not to make excuses for your wrath as if it was a flaw in you but they would glorify you instead as they realize how deep is the depth of your love through your divine wrath.

 

Living Out A Never Ending Love Story With My Master & Redeemer!

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