Repentance

Step 4 - Profit and Loss StatementPremium Content

As we all travel on this journey called life, we all have offended someone or we ourselves have been offended. Many hang onto to these offenses, as one would cling onto a priceless gem. They will quickly proclaim to all "I have the right to be mad, for you don't know, what that person did to me." And in a sense they are correct, they do have the right to hang unto the offense.

In the book of 1 Corinthians 10:23 we are told, "All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful, but not all things edify."

You see we all have the legal right to be unforgiving, angry, or even bitter at the people who have done us wrong. But as the scripture says, "Not all things are profitable" In fact, an unforgiving heart is very unprofitable (disadvantaged) and does not edify, which means to be built up in faith, belief or knowledge.

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What Do You Think Jesus Wants You to Do?Premium Content

"My Yoke Is Easy."

What do you think Jesus wants you to do?

I'm not thinking of specific choices like whether to have pizza or turkey for lunch (I don't think He cares). But in terms of overall life choices and directions, what do you think He wants? There are probably a lot of answers to that question, but I'm thinking of one right now that I'll bet nobody else mentioned.

I think He wants me to quit. (It's okay if you're surprised.)

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

The scripture above is one of the most well-known passages in the bible. It's a source of comfort to folks who are buried under the weight of illness, despair, and impossible expectations. But it's even more comforting when we understand the historical context.

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Nurtured by the Right QuestionPremium Content

Wrong questions are the breeding ground of doubt, despair and unbelief. I know; I've asked the wrong questions for almost sixty years. But, in the midst of those questions mercy, grace, atonement and the answer burst its way into my darkened questions. Tell Me Why is the most foreboding of all wrong questions.

Don't miss-hear me; questions are natural and a part of our God given DNA. But: to end up at Why? That wrong question is not a part of the likeness and image of God that we are all endowed with. It is the epitome of our fallen, darkened condition! So, how do we approach these unanswerable questions?

Before there are answers, there is a relationship you must have your heart opened to. There is a knowing that paves the way for sufficient answers. Here it comes! You must know that God's plan is God; revealed in a "baby wrapped in old dirty clothes", a Son of Man, a life lived exemplary for all generations, on a Cross-disfigured and murdered by His own and in an empty tomb. He is not a program, or an impersonal idea.

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As We Understood Him - Taking Step 3Premium Content

In our 3rd step "We made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him."

One very interesting fact of this step is that the amount or degree of our lives and will, we are able to turn over to God, will be determined by the amount or degree of our understanding of Him.

Many of our brothers and sisters came into the program as Atheists or Agnostics. In the 4th chapter of the Big Book of A.A, titled "We Agnostics" we read the following "Instead of regarding ourselves as intelligent agents, spearheads of God's ever advancing Creation, we agnostics and atheists chose to believe that our human intelligence was the last word, the alpha and the omega, the beginning and end of all. Rather vain of us, wasn't it? We, who have traveled this dubious path, beg you to lay aside prejudice, even against organized religion."

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The Role of Ignorance and Want in Our LivesPremium Content

One of my favorite holiday stories is "A Christmas Carol," the timeless classic, written by Charles Dickens. I've seen many adaptations of it; there have been numerous stage and screen versions, rolled out each December.

One of the constants in the story, however, is that of the boy character, Ignorance, and the girl character, Want, introduced to the Scrooge character via the Ghost of Christmas Present. They're portrayed as creature-like, snarling, hissing and clawing for attention. They make their dramatic appearance, hidden underneath the Ghost's robe.

And, the drama queen in me loves that poignant, uncomfortable scene because it's a wake-up call reality check for humanity. According to the literature classic, here's the exchange between Scrooge and the Ghost:

"Beware them both, and all of their degree, but most of all beware this boy, for on his brow I see that written which is Doom, unless the writing be erased."

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The Reservoir of Christ in MePremium Content

The longer I walk with Jesus; my Elder Brother, Lord and Savior, the more I need strengthening from the inside out! "Out of our innermost being flows the river of life." This flow of life is more than abundant and it is always and only experienced from the inside out. And it always has its origin and power in the reservoir of Christ in me! So why do I seem to persist in my veiled attempt at living from the outside in?

16I desire for you to realize what the Father has given you from His own limitless resources, so that you may be dynamically reinforced in your inner being by the Spirit of God.

17 This will impact your faith with capacity to fully grasp the reality of the indwelling Christ. You are rooted and founded in Love. Love is your invisible inner source just like the root system of a tree and the foundation of a building. (The dimension of your inner person exceeds any other measure that could possibly define you.)

18 This is your reservoir of super human strength which causes you as saints to collectively grasp (come to terms with, make one’s own) the limitless extent of His love in breadth, in length, in height (rank), and the extremities of its depths.

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Run, Don't Walk to Your Forgiving Father

You know, we don't really believe that the Bible is true. We say we do, but often we ignore things in it. We say, "Well, there must be another way" or "In this case, it won't happen like this." But the fact is, the Bible is unequivocally true. Everything it says will happen the way it says it. Period.

When wickedness comes, contempt comes also;
and with dishonor comes disgrace.
Proverbs 18:3 NRSV

With wickedness comes contempt and with dishonor comes disgrace. In other words, we can't hide our sin.

Be sure your sin will find you out. Numbers 32:23 NRSV

King David was absolute ruler over all his kingdom. Not only that, but he could have any number of wives and be well within his rights... as long as the women he chose were available to marry him. In other words, he could have any woman except one who was already married. And, of course, human nature being what it is, he wanted a woman who was already married. We all know the story. He had an affair with her and she got pregnant. So, David arranged for her soldier husband to come home, hoping that the husband would have sex with his wife and never know that the baby she bore wasn't his. Unfortunately for David, the husband was a more honorable man than his king and refused to enjoy his "vacation" while his men were still fighting and dying on the front lines. So David, in a frenzy not to have his sin found out, sent Uriah to the front lines to be killed in battle. And so he was.

Are You a Ragamuffin in Need of Grace?Premium Content

Brennan Manning loved to refer to the Gospel as the Ragamuffin Gospel. I always liked that! Why? I didn't come to Jesus with any piety or with the veil of religious performance. I was completely surprised when I encountered Jesus. He was totally other than my immature image of Him! And I had hit "my" bottom as a drug addicted Hippie. My home was the streets.

Jesus took me in through the love and hospitality of two of His Ragamuffin Saints. And He immediately sensitized me to the realities of being drawn into Him. He threw out the welcome mat to my heart to be at home in Him. I had no theology. Not even the slightest pretense of having a clue about my life "purpose" or "worth." I was entirely "clueless!"

Brennan Manning eloquently communicated the Gospel of Grace without even a hit hint of religious pride. And he never wavered or compromised it. Instead; he was faithful to the message of grace through his own personal struggles, failures and shortcomings. The following quote succinctly captures the essence of Brennan's life message!

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Breaking Free from SlaveryPremium Content

Slavery: according to www.dictionary.com slavery is described as:

1.The state of one bound in servitude as the property of a slaveholder or household.
2. a.The practice of owning slaves.
b.A mode of production in which slaves constitute the principal work force.
3.The condition of being subject or addicted to a specified influence.
4.A condition of hard work and subjection: wage slavery.


And according to the thesaurus on the same site, these are some of the words that go along with slavery:

bullwork, captivity, chains, constraint, drudge, drudgery, enslavement, enthrallment, feudalism, grind, helotry, indenture, labor, menial labor, moil, peonage, restraint, serfdom, serfhood, servitude, subjection, subjugation, thrall, thralldom, toil, vassalage, work, bondage, committal, confinement, constraint, custody, durance, duress, enslavement, enthrallment, entombment, impoundment, imprisonment, incarceration, internment, jail, limbo, restraint, serfdom, servitude, subjection, thralldom, vassalage.

As you can see, slavery is not a very nice thing. The people of Israel knew all too well what slavery was when they were slaves in Egypt for 400 years. What started out as good, with Joseph being the 2nd in charge in Egypt, soon turned into something terrible and forceful when a bad pharaoh took over.

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Never Give Up! (Part 2)Premium Content

(see: Part 1)

15 The LORD God placed the man in the Garden of Eden to tend and care for it. 16But the LORD God gave him this warning: "You may freely eat any fruit in the garden 17 except fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If you eat of its fruit, you will surely "die" (forfeit a living/intimate relationship with God). Genesis 2:15-17, NLT

Now, although Adam and his wife were both naked, neither of them felt any shame. Genesis 2:25, NLT

Shame was born in dis-obedience. And so was mankind's propensity to lean upon flawed understanding and call it "wisdom or knowledge". These are the result of eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil! Their/our eyes were opened to what they weren't equipped to understand or process.

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