Sometimes A Good Father Says “No”

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 26 “But the Lord was angry with me because of you, and he would not listen to me. ‘That’s enough!’ he declared. ‘Speak of it no more.  — Deut. 3:24-26 NLT

Deut 3:24-26 ISV

From a human viewpoint, if anyone deserved to enter the Promised Land, it was Moses. When God told Moses to speak to the rock to cause water to flow out, Moses in his anger, struck the rock.  Compared to all of the foolishness of the tribes of Israel, this seems like a small thing to us.  But God views things and events from a totally different perspective.  Whatever His reasons were, God’s answer to Moses’s prayer was “No”.  God gave Paul the same answer when Paul asked God to remove “the thorn in his flesh”.  We are not sure what the “thorn” was nor exactly why God said “No”, but Paul was assured that he needed the “thorn” to keep him humble.  In both cases, God heard the prayer and answered.  Not the answer the men wanted to hear, but He answered.  The prayers that we humans refer to as “unanswered” are the ones when God gives us an answer we don’t want to hear or when we don’t agree with His answer.  Neither Moses nor Paul rebelled against God because of His answer.  They accepted the answer as God’s will and continued to be God’s servants.  God did not “owe” Moses and Paul anything for their obedience. He owes us nothing and will never be indebted to us.  We, on the other hand, owe Him everything and will always be indebted to Him.  He blesses us simply because He loves us and it gives Him great joy to bless His children.  The good works that we do are to show God’s love to others and to show our obedience to God.  
35 “Love your enemies! Do good to them. Lend to them without expecting to be repaid. Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High, for he is kind to those who are unthankful and wicked. 36 You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate. — Luke 6:35, 36 NLT
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
Post 10-30-2018

To Be Forgiven, Forgive Others

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25  “I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more. — Isaiah 43:25 NLT

God forgives us of our sins and chooses not to remember them or hold them against us.  No where in the Bible are we instructed to “forgive and forget”.  Like many sayings attributed to the Bible, this one is not in there.  While it is a beautiful expression and idea, I am not sure that humans are capable of forgetting those transgressions,  either the ones we have committed against God or those that have been committed against us.  While we may not be capable of forgetting, we are charged over and over with the responsibility of forgiving.  That we can do, because it is an act of the will, it is a decision that we make.  God has certainly told us that His forgiveness of our sins requires us to forgive others

32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.  — Eph. 4:32​

 
There are many other verses emphasizing the fact that we must forgive.  These verses also show us how our relationship with the Father is affected by a lack of forgiveness. (Matt. 6:15)  They also show us how a lack of forgiveness causes us to become bitter (Hebrews 12) and how un-forgiveness will cause us to lose our reward (2 John).
The “forgetting” part means that we should be so sure and certain about our decision to forgive that the transgression no longer affects our relationship with the person committing the act.  It is no longer a part of any discussion we have or any decision that we make.  It means that just as God has justified our standing with Him, we do the same for the transgressor.  It is as if we had “forgotten” or as if that incident had never happened. Notice in the passage from Isaiah that God said He would forgive them for His sake which indicates there are some good things that come to those who do the forgiving as well as to those who are forgiven.  So,  if for no other reason, we need to forgive for our own sake.
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

Post 09-21-2018

Workplace Witnesses

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14 And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone. 15 Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else.— 1 Thess 5:14, 15 NIV
 
We pray and ask God to bless the work of our hands, but if we aren’t doing anything with our hands, there is nothing for God to bless. If we are doing the works of our Father, then He certainly will bless the works of our hands. We do need to be full time Christians, but that doesn’t mean we have to be employed by the church or a mission organization,  God needs workers in the workplace. Our vocation and how we support our families is important to God.  He has placed us in secular organizations to spread His Word there.  Jesus was a friend to sinners and we can use that example in our workplaces.  We can build bridges by encouraging the disheartened and helping those that are weak.  Each of us have areas in our lives that are weak and need developing.  We need to look for those weak areas in those around us.  Not so that we can criticize the other person, but so that we will be able to encourage them and build them up. When we find them, we need to pray for them and  marinate those weak areas in prayer.  We need to pray for discernment for ourselves, so that we can be specific in our prayers for others. Then with love, patience and the leadership of the Holy Spirit, we can help them develop their weak areas.

32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. — Eph. 4:32 NIV
 
As the old adage goes, “No one cares what you know, until they know that you care”. Our lifestyles will let them know whether or not, we  really care . So, above all, we must live our lives so that they see Jesus in us everyday.
 
17 May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us—​yes, establish the work of our hands.– Psalm 90:17 NIV​
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
Post 07-19-2018

Gaining A Share of the Blessings

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23 I do everything to spread the Good News and share in its blessings. – 1 Cor. 9:23 NLT
Paul uses whatever he has in common with a person to build a bridge to communicate with that person. Paul understood the Old Testament Law and could speak to that. He knows what it is to be freed from that law and live under Christ’s law, the law of Christ is to love God with all of your heart, mind, soul, and strength and to love your neighbor as yourself. We are also instructed to bear one another’s burdens.  Paul does all these things to win souls to Christ and so must we show love and compassion.  It is a true saying that “people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care”.  That is the example that Jesus set for us while He was here on earth. Becoming “all things to all people” is much too vast a subject to cover here. But we can all speak or act when we feel that little nudge from the Holy Spirit to do so. We just need to do our part and trust God for the results, Then our lives will be overflowing with blessings and Joy unspeakable!

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous

Post 02-22-2018

The Body of Christ Should Settle It’s Own Disputes

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If you have legal disputes about such matters, why go to outside judges who are not respected by the church? – 1 Cor. 6:4 NLT
 

Can you imagine what it would be like to attend a congregation where everyone agreed to take their complaints against each other to the congregation and accept their decision? Wouldn’t this be a good example for the world to see? Paul says we should be able to judge the trivial things ourselves. Anything short of salvation is trivial. Why do we ask the world to judge between us? Is it ego, greed, or revenge? Since we have access to heavenly wisdom, who could be wiser in judging than God’s children? We are all one family, the family of God. For us to ask the world to settle our disputes is somewhat like hanging out the family’s dirty laundry. The world is probably never going to recommend that we just forgive each other and move along since they look on humility and meekness with scorn. But that is exactly what the Holy Spirit recommends for members of the body.

31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.—Eph. 4:31,32 NIV


“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous

Post 02-13-2018

Prayer, Praise, Thanksgiving

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27 And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will. — Romans 8:27 NLT

Living out the love of God in our lives effectively requires us to spend time in prayer. There are times when we know that we need to pray but we just don’t quite know how to approach God about it. Just start a simple prayer and we find that suddenly we are praying about someone or something that we had not planned. There are times when we may be so compassionate about something that we just run out of words to pray. Just remain quietly in the attitude of prayer and God’s Holy Spirit will search your heart and communicate the words to God. While all this is going on, remember that we have an advocate (Jesus) with the Father who is also praying for us. Our simple prayers become effective prayers because the Trinity is praying with us and for us, separately and in unity. This should cause us to pray believing that God will answer us in his own time.  Because we believe He will answer we should always include praise and thanksgiving in our prayers. We can never thank him enough or too often for sending His Son Jesus to redeem us from our sins

Luke 1:68-70 NLT


“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous

Post 12-22-2016

Practice Showing Mercy

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8 The Lord is compassionate and merciful, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love.
— Psalm 103:8 NLT
 
 

Each morning when we get up, we should take time to thank God for His mercies and faithfulness. The fact that God does not deal with us as we deserve because of our sins is reason enough to spend each day rejoicing and giving Him praise. We deserve death and an eternity in hell, but God has chosen to forgive us, redeem us and bless us. Spend today giving God the glory, blessing, and honor that He so richly deserves and when the evening comes, you will discover that you have had a joyful day. Focus on Jesus and your day will be a blessing to you and to those around you. Every day, from now until Christmas, practice showing mercy to those you meet and pray that it becomes a year round habit. We can have that “Christmas feeling” year round, if we meditate on the love of Jesus, store it in our hearts and release a little bit of it everyday.

2 Samuel 22;26-28 NKJV


“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous

Post 12-8-2016