Archive for the ‘Forgiveness of God’ Category

It is a fact of life!

Friday, May 5th, 2017

It is a fact of life, that all of our thoughts, words, and actions are fixed and unchangeable.

Now, at the age of seventy, my work for good or for evil is done.
I cannot go back and repair what has been amiss.
I cannot now do what has been left undone.
I cannot do in a better manner, what has been imperfectly performed.
I cannot recover the hours that have been wasted.
I cannot correct the evils which may have resulted from my errors.
I cannot overtake and stop what I have spoken or written, as it has gone out into the world.
I cannot summon back the opportunities for usefulness which have been neglected.
I cannot obliterate the reality or the memory of wrong thoughts, or wrong motives, or wrong words, or wrong actions.
All that has been thought or said or done in these seventy years, has become fixed as a reality–never to be changed.
Past errors and follies may be forgiven–but they are never to be changed.

The hope of a man at seventy years of age–at any age–is not that the errors, and sins, and follies of the past can be changed–it is only . . .
that they may be pardoned by a merciful God;
that they may be covered over by the blood of the atonement;
that though they must remain forever as facts–facts fully known to the Great Searcher of hearts–their guilt may be so taken away that they will not be punished;
that by the blood shed on the cross, they themselves may be so covered over–so hidden–that they will not be disclosed on the final trial before assembled worlds!

That hope, the religion of Christ offers to all.

How different would men try to make their lives, if they habitually felt that all–literally all–that they do, or say, or think–even their most fugitive thoughts–becomes thus fixed and unchangeable forever!

~Albert Barnes, “Life at Three-score and Ten” 1868

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The day after Easter

Monday, April 17th, 2017

The day after Easter brings us a simple word-of-the-week…

AND

Most of us read some version of this passage over the weekend.

“Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’” (Mark 16:6-7)

I’ve likely read the account a hundred times without noticing it. The “and.” Read it again.

“…tell his disciples and Peter…”

Peter was one of the disciples, so why the and?  I think they all knew, and the angel knew they knew. Knew that Peter had denied Jesus, not once but three times! I think they wondered if denying Jesus in that terrible moment was too much. I think they wondered if Peter was still welcomed by Jesus, and the angel knew they wondered.

The angel left no doubt. Peter was still on the team.

Peter messed up pretty badly. Not only was he not kicked out, he got a special invitation. God’s angel made sure everyone knew grace and forgiveness were still part of the deal.

That’s good news for you and me.

It’s Monday. He’s risen. He’s going ahead. We’ve got an engraved invitation. Let’s follow.

You may also want to read: Easter: The Big Event, and then—what?

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A Bag, a Book, and a Bottle!

Friday, April 7th, 2017

God takes great care to comfort His people in their many trials and sorrows in this world. One of the goals which He commands His preachers to have, is the comfort of His people. He says, “Comfort, comfort My people.” Here are three things described in the Word of God that should be of great comfort to every believer.

1. God has made A BAG FOR OUR SINS. Job said, “My transgression is sealed up in a bag, and you sew up my iniquity.”  In ancient times when men died at sea, their bodies were placed in a weighted bag which was sewn together and sealed. Then they were cast into the depths of the sea.

That is what God has done with our sins. They are cast “into the depths of the sea.” When Christ died for our sins which were imputed to Him, He put them all away. They were buried in the sea of God’s infinite forgiveness, put away never to be brought up again. God almighty will never charge us with sin, impute sin to us, remember our sins against us, or treat us any less graciously because of our sin. That is the forgiveness of God! “Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.”

2. The Lord has written A BOOK FOR OUR NAMES. Take heart child of God. Your name is written in the book of God! Before the worlds were made, the Lord God inscribed the names of His elect in the Lamb’s book of life. In that book God has recorded, not only the names of the chosen heirs of Heaven, but also all things pertaining to them. The Lamb’s book of life is the book of God’s eternal purpose of grace, predestination, and election. The fact that our names are written in that book means that our salvation is a matter of absolute certainty, and that all things work together for our good by God’s arrangement to secure our predestined end, which is perfect conformity to Christ. When our Lord says, “Rejoice because your names are written in Heaven,” He is telling us that we have nothing to fear. All is well with those whose names are written in Heaven.

3. Moreover, the Lord God keeps A BOTTLE FOR OUR TEARS. “You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in Your bottle. You have recorded each one in Your book.” It was customary at ancient Egyptian funerals for mourners to have a small cloth or sponge to wipe away their tears. Then they were squeezed into a small vial, a tear bottle, and placed in the tomb with the dead, symbolizing the care the mourners had for the one who had died. Even so, the Lord our God, our heavenly Father, our almighty Savior, and our holy Comforter tenderly cares for us. We are the very apple of His eye.

The Lord our God has . . .
put our sins in a bag and buried them,
written our names in a book to remember them, and
placed our tears in a bottle to show His tender care for us.

Could anything be more comforting in this world of sin, sorrow, and death?

~Don Fortner

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His Compassions are New Every Morning

Wednesday, June 8th, 2016

It is because of the Lord’s mercy and loving-kindness that we are not consumed,
because His [tender] compassions fail not.  Lamentations 3:24 AMP

Each Christian may find in his own case, some peculiar token of God’s providential kindness to him. It is in the details of each man’s personal history that we find the most touching manifestations of God’s providential care. None of us can refuse to acknowledge that we have been the objects of a watchfulness which has never slumbered, and of a benevolence which has never been weary in doing us good.

Were we to attempt an enumeration of all the . . .
blessings which we have received at God’s hand,
deliverances which He has wrought out for us,
snares from which He has preserved us,
manifestations of His long-suffering patience, and tender mercy, of which we ourselves have been the objects–were we to begin with the years of infancy and helplessness, and to trace our progress through the slippery paths of youth, until we reached our present state–we would soon find how impossible it is to reckon up the sum of our innumerable obligations to “the loving-kindness of the Lord.”

For not only has God spared us in life, and upheld us from day to day, by His almighty power; not only has He given us our daily bread, and made our cup to run over–and that, too, notwithstanding all the ingratitude which we have displayed, and the manifold provocations which we have offered; but, in peculiar seasons, in seasons of difficulty and trial–He has often delivered . . .
our eyes from tears,
and our feet from falling,
and our souls from death!

And as often as we have cried to the Lord in our trouble, He has delivered us from our distresses–or supported and comforted us under them. So that each of His redeemed people, on a review of God’s dealings with Him, will be forced to exclaim:
“The Lord has been my Shepherd!”
“I have not lacked any good thing!”
“Hitherto has the Lord helped me!”
“The Lord has done all things well!”
“Surely goodness and mercy have followed me all the days of my life!”

~ James Buchanan, “Comfort in Affliction” 1837

Breaking Away from Our Past

Monday, May 16th, 2016

“But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus!” Philippians 3:13-14

We have here Paul’s wise theory of life–progress by forgetting, by letting go of the things that are past.

“Forgetting what is behind.” Probably most of us have done things we would much like . . .
to leave behind,
to blot out from memory,
to cut altogether loose from,
to bury in oblivion.

We cannot turn back the hands of the clock, that we may have any day over again. But we may bring to God all the mistakes, the follies, the sins–and He will forgive us, and then use even these poor broken things for good.

A traveler tells of finding a place beside the sea, where many ships were dashed upon the rocks–and a beautiful house built altogether from pieces of wreckage gathered from the shore.

That is about the best many of us can do. We have little else to bring to God but wreckage–disobediences, broken commandments, mistakes, sins. Yet it is a wonderful thought that even with such materials, if we are truly penitent and repentant–our Master will work, helping us to build beauty in our lives. Sins forgiven become lessons for us. Out of a past full of failures, we may make a future full of strength and beauty–through the grace of Christ. We cannot forget our sins, but we may be wiser and better for them.

~ J.R. Miller

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That’s Not What I Expected

Friday, March 4th, 2016

Today’s word-of-the-week…

EXPECTED

That’s Not What I Expected

Interesting sermon title, huh? The pastor used an incident from David’s life to illustrate how life with God frequently takes unexpected turns.

Good point. If you’re anything like me, you can look back and see lots of things that turned out a good deal differently than you figured they would. Many turned out much better than we could have imagined. Some were just different, maybe something we wouldn’t have thought of. And some, well, some were pretty tough.

The title of the sermon got me thinking about Jesus. Once in a while I get the chance to explain Jesus to someone–not the political Jesus or the do’s and don’t’s Jesus or the prosperity Jesus or any of the other versions of Jesus people make up, but the just the basics Jesus. And when you tell someone His message is as simple as “Believe in me and you’re forgiven” the response is nearly always something like:

That’s Not What I Expected

If you think about it, Jesus was a surprise from the beginning. The religious folks of His day anticipated a Messiah, but what they got wasn’t at all what they expected.

He’s still surprising us.

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Copyright by Rich Dixon, All Rights Reserved. Used by permission.
Rich is an author and speaker. He is the author of:
Relentless Grace: God’s Invitation To Give Hope Another Chance
. Visit his web site www.relentlessgrace.com

From Pieces to Something Beautiful

Monday, February 1st, 2016

My doorbell rang, and I dashed to the door. The garage door technician arrived with my new garage door.

I stared at his pickup truck and asked, “Where’s the garage door?”

“On the floor of the truck in boxes.”

On my tiptoes, I looked into the truck and saw the boxes. I could hardly wait for him to tear down the old garage door and install the new one. Have you ever experienced that anticipation over something new?

Like a child waiting for a present, I opened my kitchen door every forty-five minutes or so to check the technician’s progress.

I cheered when he removed the old door. He said, “Besides being noisy, the door had two cracks in it. It wouldn’t have lasted much longer.”

I swept my hand across my forehead. “I’m relieved I had the door removed before serious trouble occurred.”

When I saw the beautiful new door in place, a smile spread across my face.

Next the technician mounted the light, the keypad, and other wonderful features.

As I looked at the pile of pieces from the old door and admired the new one, I thought of how God takes the pieces of our broken lives and makes us beautiful through his Son Jesus Christ.

Have you experienced that new creation?

2 Corinthians 5:17: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”

Dear God, I don’t want a life full of broken pieces. Amen.

Application: What day this week will you allow God to make you a new creation?

FREE recovery magazine “The Gabriel”

Friday, December 18th, 2015

The latest issue of CIR’s FREE recovery magazine “The Gabriel” is now available for Download

You are encouraged to download this, print it out or put on a diskette and share it with your loved ones, church, pastor and/or recovery group. It is jam packed with inspiration, tips, resources and information for everyone in recovery

Are You Standing Outside the Doorway?

Wednesday, November 11th, 2015

“Who would, after seeking the King’s palace, be content to stand in the door, when he is invited to dwell in the King’s presence and share with Him in all the glory of His royal life? Certainly, all would assume that no one would so foolishly give up a royal life to merely stand in the doorway, separated from all the pleasures of living in the King’s presence,” adapted from the wisdom of Andrew Murray, from his classic “Abide in Christ.”

Tragically, many who come to Jesus as Savior and Redeemer never go beyond the doorway to abide in Him. They fail to learn the simple spiritual discipline of “Abiding in Christ” and practicing the presence of God. Experiencing the unspeakable joy of dwelling in the presence of God is the birthright of every follower of Jesus.

Is our “imposter” mask blocking the presence of the very one we desire to be closest too As a direct result many Christians feel broken and angry but don’t think they can express these real feelings around others?or to God. So we put on a mask to hide our identity. Feelings of embarrassment and shame make us hide from the One who truly loves us. He is calling and encouraging us to let go of this stressful, unreal impostor lifestyle and freely accept our identity as a child of God

“Take care to live in me (practice my presence daily/hourly), and let me live in you. For a branch can’t produce fruit when severed from the vine. Nor can you be fruitful apart from me.For apart from me you can’t do a thing.But if you stay in me and obey my commands, you may ask any request you like, and it will be granted…I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Live within my love.” John 15: 4, 5b, 7, 9, The Living Bible

Life lived in the presence of Jesus is fruitful, powerful, joyful and secure. When we learn to practice His presence we stay connected to the source of all we will ever need. A relationship can’t be maintained in a healthy functional way apart from regular dialogue and fellowship.

“The one thing I want from God, the thing I seek most of all, is the privilege of meditating in his Temple, living in his presence every day of my life, delighting in his incomparable perfections and glory. There I’ll be when trouble comes. He will hide me. He will set me on a high rock out of reach of all my enemies. Then I will bring him sacrifices and sing his praises with much joy. Listen to my pleading, Lord! Be merciful and send the help I need. My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me, O my people.” And my heart responds, “Lord, I am coming.” (Psalm 27: 4-8 The Living Bible)

Is this the cry of your heart? Lord, I am coming!

Copyright by Ron Ross.
All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Rev. Ron Ross is a pastor, author, teacher, and counselor.
As founder of NET Casting Ministries, he equips the church
around the world to care for the wounded and addicted.
Ron is a cofounder of the NET Training Institute.

You can’t be lost without first truly belonging!

Monday, October 26th, 2015

You can’t be lost without first truly belonging! Our belonging trumps any lost-ness we have ever experienced! As bearers of the image and likeness of God, we are always invited into the depths of His searching and finding. I desire to fully know and be fully known!

The story of Calvary’s Cross beckons us afresh into knowing Jesus as The Son of Man. As Son of Man he gave His life for the world; establishing for all ages (past, present and future) our life in Him. As Son of Man he finds us in our lost-ness and brings us into the knowing of Him as our Savior, Sacrificial Lamb, Head of the Church, Lord of Lords, King of Kings, Great High Priest and Coming Groom!

Our only contribution is to daily embrace the finished work of Jesus. We can only do this by grace through faith!

But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions-it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages (this very day) he might show (in and through you and me) the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works so that no man can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Eph. 2:4-9, NIV)

Christ be with me, Christ within me, Christ behind me, Christ before me, Christ beside me, Christ to win me, Christ to comfort and restore me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ in quiet, Christ in danger, Christ in the hearts of all that love him, Christ in friends, enemies, strangers and all nations, tribes and tongues! (Adapted from St. Patrick)

“God, investigate my life; get all the facts firsthand.
2 I’m an open book to you;
even from a distance, you know what I’m thinking.
3 You know when I leave and when I get back;
I’m never out of your sight.
4 You know everything I’m going to say before I start the first sentence.
5 I look behind me and you’re there,
then up ahead and you’re there, too – your reassuring presence,
coming and going.
6 This is too much, too wonderful –
I can’t take it all in!

7 Is there any place I can go to avoid your Spirit?
(Is there any place) to be out of your sight?
8 If I climb to the sky, you’re there!
If I go underground, you’re there!
9 If I flew on morning’s wings to the far western horizon,
10 you’d find me in a minute – you’re already there waiting!
11 Then I said to myself, “Oh, he even sees me in the dark!
At night I’m immersed in the light!”
12 It’s a fact: darkness isn’t dark to you; night and day,
darkness and light, they’re all the same to you.

13 Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out;
you formed me in my mother’s womb.
14 I thank you, High God – you’re breathtaking! Body and soul,
I am marvelously made! I worship in adoration – what a creation!
15 You know me inside and out, you know every bone in my body;
you know exactly how I was made, bit by bit,
how I was sculpted from nothing into something.
16 Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth;
all the stages of my life were spread out before you,
the days of my life all prepared before I’d even lived one day.
17 Your thoughts – how rare, how beautiful!
God, I’ll never comprehend them!
18 I couldn’t even begin to count them
– any more than I could count the sand of the sea.
Oh, let me rise in the morning and live always with you!” (Psalm 139: 1-18, Msg.)

All that was lost has found it’s place in Jesus in us!

May we know as we are known, perfectly in His D.N.A. (divine nature added)!

Copyright by Ron Ross.
All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Rev. Ron Ross is a pastor, author, teacher, and counselor.
As founder of NET Casting Ministries, he equips the church
around the world to care for the wounded and addicted.
Ron is a cofounder of the NET Training Institute.