Forgiveness and Love

“Forgiveness is the key that unlocks the door of resentment and the handcuffs of hate.  It is a power that breaks the chains of bitterness and the shackles of selfishness.” 

William Arthur Ward.

Forgiveness is created in the priceless love that never fails.  We can’t truly forgive unless we decide to love.  Love heals the broken-hearted and repairs the damage and unlocks the  door to forgiveness.

“If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,but do not have love, I gain nothing.

4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.  1 Corinthians 13 [NIV]

Spread a little love today, and then take the key of forgiveness to that closed door.  You’ll find it’s been opened.

Clearing Thought

Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus. Phil 2:5

“The detachment from the confusion all around us is in order to have a richer attachment to God. Christian meditation leads us to the inner wholeness necessary to give ourselves to God freely.”— Richard Foster, *Celebration Of Discipline* 2nd ed. (Harper, 1988), p.21

Loading

Have you taken noticed to the start process for each new tech gadget and app? The gadget are boxed with a nifty set of instructions. Every app has to be installed, verified, screened for authenticity. Once properly installed, we sit waiting for the gadget or app to load. The icon comes up with a message it’s loading, loading, loading.  Then finally, it is ready.
We’re like those gadgets and applications.  We also came with instructions, and we were installed to do the Master’s work.  Since our initial installation, and upgrades we’ve been loading, loading, loading.  Here’s the question of the day, are you ready to launch? Ready to be used by God? Ready to fully implement the upgraded version of you?

“God who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord who is faithful.” 1 Corinthians 1:9  The promises of God are true, and can never, ever fail.  Our initial installation may have been a bit rocky.  We may have been buffering, sputtering trying to get re-connected to the main power source.  But despite our shaky start-up, God has been true to his word.  He provided everything for our successful launch.

Stop loading and load.  “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 2:5   You can do it! You can be it!   With each upgrade, old data must be renewed or removed to complete each assignment.  Need more wisdom – God gives it liberally to the person who asks for it.  We have not, because we ask not. Check the instructions.  Feel uncertain – God said He would never leave nor forsake us. Check the instructions. God told Joshua to be “Be strong and very courageous“, and as He was with Moses so He would be with him.  God was with Joshua, Moses, David, Ruth, Deborah, Mary, and the Apostle Paul, and He will be with you.  It’s in the instructions.

Our instructions are clear and powerful.  The authoritative word of God – The Bible provides all the data for correcting faulty wiring (our thinking), and repairing damage done by years of false starts.   Paul wrote, “God did not give us a spirit of fear, but one of power, love and a sound mind.” Our internal wiring is connected to the direct power source, and it is always on.  That power, love and sound mind can defeat any giant or an army of Amalekites. God is our very present help. He is our failsafe.  It’s in the instructions.

Everything needed to properly launch is available and ready for use.  Everything!   There is a whole world waiting for the 2013 version of you.   So stop loading and LOAD.  

And God saw the light

“And God saw the light.” Genesis 1:4
Commentary from Charles Haddon Spurgeon

This morning we noticed the goodness of the light, and the Lord’s dividing it from the darkness, we now note the special eye which the Lord had for the light. “God saw the light” –He looked at it with complacency, gazed upon it with pleasure, saw that it “was good.”  If the Lord has given you light, dear reader, He looks on that light with peculiar interest; for not only is it dear to Him as His own handiwork, but because it is like Himself,for “He is light.” Pleasant it is to the believer to know that God’s eye is thus tenderly observant of that work of grace which He has begun. He never loses sight of the treasure which He has place in our earthen vessels.  Sometimes we cannot see the light, but God always sees the light, and that is much better than our seeing it.  Better for the judge to see my innocence that for me to think I see it.  It is very comfortable for me to know that I am one of God’s people–but whether I know it or not, if the Lord knows it, I am still safe. This is the foundation, “The Lord knoweth them that are His.”

You may be sighing and groaning because of inbred sin, and mourning over your darkness, yet the Lord sees “light” in your heart, for He has put it there, and all the cloudiness and gloom of your soul cannot conceal your light from His gracious eye.  You may have sunk low in despondency, and even despair; but if your soul has any longing towards Christ, and if you are seeking to rest in His finished work, God sees the “light.”  He not only sees it, but he also preserves it in you.  “I, the Lord, do keep it.”  This is a precious thought to those who, after anxious watching and guarding of themselves, feel their own powerlessness to do so.  The light thus preserved by His grace, He will one day develop into the splendor of noonday, and the fulness of glory.  The light within the dawn of the eternal day.  Charles H. Spurgeon

So, let your light shine in the darkness, so the world can see the goodness and glory of God, and rejoice for the King of kings. “And God saw the light, and it was good.”

Be blessed this day,  light-bearers for Christ.

Thought for today

I’ve been studying for our adult Sunday school class from Philippians Chapter 1, where Paul imprisoned, wrote about the gospel being preached, and his desire to leave and be with Christ.  It is a lesson in personal conflict.

Paul’s ministry had an amazing impact on those believers. They were bold for Christ and the message was yielding fruit.  Paul’s joyful attitude made them eager to share Christ with the world.  The purity and sincerity of Christ’s love broke down the walls, and despite his tremendous joy at the spreading of the gospel, we see Paul’s desire to be with the Lord [Phil 1:21-23].  While he remained, the gospel was being preached, and the church was encouraged, but if he died he would be with the Lord, a thing which he desired.    Paul’s attitude was resolute – ” Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you. [Phil 1:24]”  Paul stated that no matter what he had to endure, he would not be ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ[Phil 1:20]. His purpose was to honor and glorify Christ at all costs.  So it didn’t matter if he was imprisoned, his spirit, his attitude was not.  Paul was freed from the snares, the temptations, and his own flesh to do the will of Christ.  He did not sit in a corner moaning his misfortune, instead Paul reflected Christ.  Paul’s total message was so captivating that Christ’s message of love and grace won the hearts and minds of those desperately seeking the Messiah.  And they discovered Christ-the hope of glory through Paul despite of his chains.   The thought for today is, does our attitude reflect and honor Christ despite our situations, challenges, and personal imprisonments?  

Faith asks us neither to destroy nor to exalt human desire but to gather it into an even greater desire; the thirst for God.

Author Unknown

Dear friends, let your entire being like Paul, reflect the glory of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Share Christ and let the joy of your salvation bring forth the light and love.

Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and our God and Father, who has loved us and given us everlasting consolation and good hope by grace, comfort your hearts and establish you in every good word and work. 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17  Amen. 

Grace

“Grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” 2 Peter 3:18

“Grow in grace” – not in one grace only, but in all grace. Grow in that root-grace, faith.  Believe the promises more firmly than you have done. Let faith increase in fullness, constancy, simplicity. Grow also in love. Ask that your love may become extended, more intense, more practical, influencing every thought, word, and deed. Grow likewise in humility. Seek to lie every low, and know more of your own nothingness. As you grow downward in humility, seek also to grow upward – having nearer approaches to God in prayer and more intimate fellowship with Jesus.  May God the Holy Spirit enable you to “grow in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior”, [that grace may abound]. Amen   C.H. Spurgeon

Renewal: A Classic Devotion from C.H. Spurgeon

“Let the people renew their strength.” Isaiah 41:1

All things on earth need to be renewed.  No created thing continueth by itself. “Thou renewest the face of the year,” was the Psalmist’s utterance.  Even the trees, which wear not themselves with care, nor shorten their lives with labor, must drink of the rain of heaven, and suck from the hidden treasures of the soil.  The cedars of Lebanon, which God has planted, only live because day by day they are full of sap fresh drawn from the earth. Neither can man’s life be sustained without renewal from God. As it is necessary to repair the waste of the body by the frequent meal, so we must repair the waste of the soul by feeding upon the Book of God, or by listening to the preached Word, or by the soul-fattening table of ordinances.  How depressed are our graces when means are neglected! What poor starvelings some saints are who live without the diligent use of the Word of God, and secret prayer!  If our piety can live without God, it is not of divine creating; it is but a dream; for if God had begotten it, it would wait upon Him as the flowers wait upon the dew.

Without constant restoration we are not ready for the perpetual assaults of hell, or the stern afflictions of heaven, or even for the strifes within.  When the whirlwind shall be loosed, woe to the tree that had not sucked up fresh sap, and grasped the rock with many intertwisted roots.  When tempests arise, woe to the mariners that have not strengthened their mast, nor cast their anchor, nor sought the haven.

If we suffer the good to grow weaker, the evil will surely gather strength and struggle desperately for the mastery over us; and so, mayhap, a painful desolution, and a lamentable painful disgrace may follow.  Let us draw near to the footstool of divine mercy in humble entreaty, and we shall realize the fulfillment of the promise, “They that wait on the Lord shall renew their strength.” Amen.

Spiritual Discipline-Solitude

Spiritual Disciplines are practices which strengthen the believer, and creates greater intimacy with God. An intimacy which defines and provides a platform for the ultimate expression of who and what we are. One such practice is solitude. A time of quiet, soft stillness and calmness when hearts and minds become clear, and can hear our Creator. Solitude involves separating oneself from people and things, but namely people so the spirit can re-connect with the heart source – God. Various groups of people have practice solitude, and reported its benefits – clarity, spiritual resolve, increased faith during times of testing and trials, etc.   Scripture also mentioned how Jesus went to solitary place to pray, speak with the Father, and even went into the wilderness at the beginning of his earthly ministry resulting in power and divine obedience.
Our lives are far too cluttered. We have so much on our plates, we hardly have time to think.  We need solitude for our souls and our minds.  Begin the year by practicing solitude as part of your spiritual disciplines.  I believe it will result in your having a closer walk with God.
Here is a link to a good article on http://www.soulshepherding.org/2012/08/solitude-2/.
Check it out and let me know what you think.

January 1st

January 1st with its Rose Parade and football games grabbing for our attention. Chicken wings, nachos, or traditional meal spread out ready to satisfy our waiting appetites. January 1st when text messages, phone calls go out to those near and far wishing them a prosperous new year. January 1st, the first day of a new beginning, when we reflect about what did and did not happen last year. Thoughts about losing weight, getting better, going back to school, finishing the book, or taking the leap of faith intersect with New Year’s Day rituals and activities.  And yet January 1st is a gift – another chance “to become“. I would hasten to say with conviction, no other day on the calendar tends to move more people to ponder how to begin again.  It is our “In the beginning“, when the tug of divine fulfillment and purpose prompts many to make resolutions, set goals, and start on the path to becoming.  In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth (
Genesis 1:1), and during the process He created us in His image, to be stewards, caretakers, builders, worshippers, architects, and co-heirs.   January 1st is not just another day on the calendar.  It is a day of unification with the Creator, and not with a bowl game or bowl of chili.

Take a moment to unite with God, and seek your new beginning through Him this January 1st.  There’s still time.