Tag Archives: forgiveness

The Cry of Your Heart

Is there trouble in your life? Are you seeking God’s mind on the matter, or are you just fighting your way through the experience?

Present day culture is so raddled with evil and desperation, it can be very difficult to choose to go to God for answers to a problem.  The problem and its impossibility of a good outcome focus our attention on the problem. God wants our attention focused on Him. We don’t think He is going to do anything right away, so we don’t want to look at him.

Consider a small child who has accidentally spilled water on the carpet. Over and over, the child has been told not to carry food or liquids across the carpet. The child doesn’t see why that applies to water because water dries clear. So he fills his little cup and focuses on walking carefully across the carpet. Suddenly the water spills.  It just happens. He wonders if the water will dry up before his mom sees it. What he doesn’t know is that the water has seeped through to the floor underneath and will cause harm to the floor.

Often we have a problem because we do something but don’t know all the facts of a matter and can’t predict the end result if we run into difficulties. We assume we can get by and things will work out even if we spill the water. Remember that God knows all end results and has put boundaries in place to help us avoid the ripple effect of a problem.

Okay, so water has been spilled and dried up without anyone being the wiser – we think. Then six months down the road, there is a creak in the floorboard under the carpet where we spilled the water. We take a look at the spot and see it isn’t real bad and shrug it off. We didn’t realize that all the while that board was moist, fleas got in there and made a nest. Next summer, when the weather becomes hot, those fleas come up through the now rotted board and right up through the carpet and start causing a very big problem. Everyone who walks through the room is affected and not just ourselves.

We spend all our time for days and weeks trying to get rid of the million tiny problems that are a result of one spill of water. We can’t eliminate the fleas; they reproduce too fast, and we become sick from the bites they lavish on us.

Finally, we cry out to the Lord in extreme agony. He hears. He knows. He takes us step by step through the process of redemption as many times as we need to get free. Because we are sick from a million bites, He heals us and removes that torment so we can focus on Him again. Then He reminds us that when we know what to do and don’t do it, it is sin. He leads us to repentance. He washes us clean. He shows us how to replace the rotten floor and seals the cracks. He sets us upright on our feet and puts a light in front of us so we can’t miss the way again. God hears your cry and heals your heart. Always. He never fails.

Now stop carrying water across the carpet.

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Worshiping God Together

Nehemiah 8:10 “This is a sacred day before our Lord. Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”

May I recommend that you read the entire book of Nehemiah in the Old Testament of the Bible, and especially chew on chapter 8. The context of the verse quoted above is instructive! The people of Israel had been hearing the Law of God read aloud to them and a group of them called the Levites also explained what they were hearing. These people had been reunited in Jerusalem and the surrounding area after long years of captivity away and were only re-discovering God’s Word. They were astounded and awed. His Word resonated in their hearts and minds and later in the book you will read that they vowed to follow the law and be blessed by God.

Chapter 8 gives us a nice pattern for meeting together to meet with God and give Him our complete attention.  There are five specific steps included, whcih we can easily follow in our church meetings today. The guidelines are simple! God always makes things simple to understand, even how we can have unity and worship Him!

1. A time of praise. The people stood, with their hands lifted, offering praise to God. The book doesn’t say that they sang, but as singers were an integral segment of Temple staff, singing and music could certainly be included.

2. There was a time of worship. The people bowed low to the ground and offered their complete selves to God in worship. There was no lolling around in easy chairs presuming equality living room time with God for this kind of serious worship. Purposeful reverence required involvement of body, mind and spirit all reverently bowed before the Lord their God.  More than likely, the people were also dressed in their very best garments. God deserves our first and best of everything.

3. Next came a time of preaching. The Levites, God’s appointed priests to the people explained the Word of God.

4. Following the preaching came a time of repenting. The Word of God entered into the hearts of the people and revealed what they needed to do to be right with God and they did this immediately.

5. Finally, a time of celebration. The people were told to feast and share what they had with people who did not have anything prepared. This precedent deserves much meditation by all believers!  Today, as Christ commanded we remember Him,  we would most certainly include the Lord’s supper, or communion following the time of repentance. Many millions of people in the world come to communion unprepared. They do not understand any of the Lord’s commandments regarding the bread and the cup, and so they take it unworthily, thus sinning against the Lord.  All you who do know what the Lord has said and follow Him in truth have the right and the obligation to prepare others.  Recommended reading further on this:

I John 5:13-21, 2 John

Being prepared to celebrate Christ and being forgiven of sin means that you must know and receive the truth that Jesus Christ is the only begotten Son of God, that he came to earth to die for the sins of all, and that he rose from the dead.  Review the pattern given to us in Nehemiah, practice it for yourself, and you will find that the Lord will raise you up to bring others in!

God bless you with His mighty joy as you worship God today.

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Oathmakers and Oathbreakers

The book of Hebrews at its inception was written to Jews who had received Christ as Lord and Savior. The Jews were big on oaths and vows in their culture. Hebrews 6:16 in its context leads into describing God’s oath to Abraham that He, God, would make Abraham the father of a nation, a people that is so vast we cannot count them all. However, the verse gives us valuable information af what God defines as an oath, or a vow. Heb 6:16 ” When we make a vow, we use the name of someone greater than ourselves, and the vow settles all arguments. ” So, for, example, if you swear to do something “by God,” then you are giving God specific authority to hold you to it.

In the Gospel of Matthew, we see what Christ says about making vows in the first place. He is speaking to his disciples about divorce, which is breaking a promise, and goes on to say this: Matt 5:33  “You have also heard that people were told in the past, ‘Do not break your promise, but do what you have vowed to the Lord to do.’ But now I tell you: do not use any vow when you make a promise. Do not swear by heaven, for it is God’s throne; nor by earth, for it is the resting place for his feet; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. Do not even swear by your head, because you cannot make a single hair white or black.  Just say ‘Yes’ or ‘No’—anything else you say comes from the Evil One.” (from the Good News Bible)

Let’s repeat one phrase and look at it more carefully. “Do not use any vow when you make a promise.” or, in old King James English – don’t forswear yourself.

Is it right, then, to make any kind of oath or vow? I don’t think we need to! God has promised everything to us and for us. It is by faith that we walk through this world, and everything we have and can do is by God’s grace.  We can cheerfully say, if it is the Lord’s will, then we will do such-and-such. If we already know it is the Lord’s will, then we can joyfully simply say yes to Him and begin to do it by His grace working through us. Take a step of faith and go ahead and do what you know to do from the Lord. 

God’s Word makes it clear there are no “greater” or “lesser” people in the Kingdom of God. If you need to verify this, read the book of James, which has salient remarks about prejudice. We do have a chain of authority, and persons to obey who represent God’s authority. If you allow someone to have authority over you unrighteously, however,  it is absolutely certain that person will take advantage of the position and extract all kinds of additional (and wrong) behavior from you. How do you know when this is happening? Well, because it does happen, and too often, I would like to give you an examination to see if it is happening to you.

1. Have you promised someone to do something a.) in the heat or weakness of some emotion, like anger or or fear? b.) when you are tired or hungry? c.) during some great trial where that person offers great help in exchange for a “little” promise? d.) when you are lonely? e.) to get something you wouldn’t be able to get otherwise.  These are a few examples of times when we can be easily deceived, and it is too easy to slip another person wrong authority over us.

2. Have you seen that your vow causes trial or hurt to others? Is something missing or unavailable to them because of what you have done? Is their full potential hindered because your vow is a hindrance to what you know that you know is God’s best for them?

3. Have you seen that by keeping your vow, you are unfairly aligned, directly or indirectly with the person responsible for keeping you to it? Does what falls on your authority person fall on you?  Psalms has a LOT to say about that, by the way.

4. Are you unable to move ahead in your walk with God? Are most of your prayers and even your acts of faith fruitless?

5. Is your vow of any use to the Kingdom of God? Did it have eternal value, or was is temporal, for this world only? 

If any of these things apply to you, please examine your promises.  When you made a promise, did you make it to be kept by God’s grace, or did you make it to some other person; “Well, I swear I’ll show you . . .” or, ” I swear will do what you said,” or even, “I swear that isn’t true.” Here is one more possibility to examine – did you vow something TO YOURSELF?

Are you freaking out right now because you are just realizing how you have given someone power you never intended? Even your natural self over your godly, spiritual, saved self?

THERE IS HOPE. What does Philippians chapter 4 say: Don’t be anxious! Take it to the Lord!

The word you need to remember right now is “repent.” If you have realized you made a bad vow or promise, you have already repented. To repent is to turn away from something, and the root word for our Engilsh is to “change you mind”. You have already changed your mind. You agree with God that you made a mistake. 

The next step is to confess what you have done to God. Ask His forgiveness, and receive it. Tell Him you respect His authority, and you will do whatever He says to get you out of this mess. He wil give you a godly solution. Always. He will help you, and it will be like a stone thrown into a pool. Your right response to God will ripple out to make things right for every person who has been unjustly affected. You are setting the wheels in motion for much good change. If some other person used you to gain authority, that one will be affected for righteousness. To repent and mover forward in righteousness yourself is to make the opportunity for another sinner to come to repentance. Trust God to enable and protect you. He has promised this, and God’s promises are always right. God’s promises never fail. In I John 1:9, He says when we sin, and we come to hHim about it, He is faithful and just to forgive our sin and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

I don’t know where you stand, but this writer would rather deal with just and holy God any day instead of being falsely acocuntable to some other person, place  or thing.

Lord, I pray for every person who reads this blog post to think of all the things they have said to people or to themselves to get something. Help them make a list and pray to you about each and every item on the list. I ask You to show them right from wrong and lead them to repentance and cleansing for every wrong promise. I pray in Jesus’ Name. Thank You, Lord.

 

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Washed Up For Supper

There’s going to be a great banquet in heaven. It will be the marriage supper of the Lamb. Jesus Christ is the Lamb of God; the Lamb sacrificed for our sin once and for all. He is the Bridegroom. All who believe in Him are the Bride; the church. We will be at the great banquet, feasting in the very Presence of God.

Before He was crucified, Jesus shared a meal with His disciples in a house in Jerusalem. At this meal, He broke bread and told them this broken bread represented His Body which was broken for us. You can read how His body was broken in Psalm 22. After He passed the bread, He passed a cup of wine, saying it represented His blood being poured out for us. The passing of the bread and cup among believers is a special time of sharing and remembering Christ’s sacrifice, and He said to keep doing this until He comes back.

Before that last meal they shared together, Jesus washed the disciples’ feet. He said that because they had been with Him, they were clean, but only needed to wash their feet.

Before we go to the great banquet in heaven; before we enter te place where God lives, do we need to wash our feet? Do we need to wash up for supper? When Jesus comes again, are we ready? All washed and smiling clean for supper?

Holding on to sin causes devestation. It hurts us now, because it affects all our choices and relationships, and it will certainly affect our eternal life. We will want to be clean and ready to meet the Lord in that day. It could be today. Are you ready?

If you believe in your heart and confess with your mouth that Jesus Christ is Lord, you will be saved. You get a new life in Christ. In your new life, when you sin, confess it to God. Repent, which means to turn away from it, and He is faithful forgive you, and to cleanse you from all unrighteousness.

Praise God for His wonderful goodness and mercy to us who believe!

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