Tag Archives: forgiveness

I Can Only Imagine

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I just finished watching the movie, I Can Only Imagine.  I don’t think it’s an accident that the next adult Sunday School lesson I’ll be teaching is from the book of Romans and titled “The Transformed Life.” God does that to me all the time! Bart Miller’s story is one of transformation, redemption, forgiveness, hope and most of all music.  His father was abusive and angry, his mother left, and for young Bart, music anchored him, lifted him up, and gave him a dream.  I won’t say more, because you should see this film for yourself.  You’ve probably heard the song, but it’s worth another listen:

 

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A Prayer for Christmas Day

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Am I Sorry or Repentant?

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A couple of weeks ago, Pastor Culler gave a sermon on repentance. Now being a Christian, this is probably not an earth shaking topic, right? Well, for some reason after listening to what he said I was struck by the fact that I often say I am sorry but did that mean I was repentant? It is hard to look inside ourselves and admit that we are not living our lives like we should, but I am finding out on my journey that it does not get easier, it gets even harder when you realize the huge sacrifice that was made and how little, sometimes, we appreciate it.

To be repentant means that you will turn away and change your life – have I always done that? Absolutely NOT, As a matter of fact, in retrospect I find that I have rarely been repentant, just sorry. Big difference.

However, being a Christian is about learning and growing and being a little better each day, so my next resolution is to actually think before I say I am sorry and instead learn to be more truly repentant and not just give lip service to the situation.

I am sure that I will fall, but at least I know that I can reach for my brother Jesus’ hand and He will pull me back up on the narrow path that I seem to wobble off of, a lot.

How have you approached being repentant on matters? Have you ever found yourself just saying I am Sorry to get someone off your back?

Share with me your thoughts on the subject – I am All ears or in this case EYES HAHA

Always remember

God Loves You And So Do I
Michele

A Family Prayer

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This prayer by Rev. R.H. Raasch is from The Lutheran Prayerbook.

O Lord, I thank you for my family.  You have created our lives and intentionally brought us together to live in our home.  It is within the family relationship that we learn how to share Your gifts of love, forgiveness and mercy.  It is here, in our home, that we learn to be patient, as You are patient;  compassionate, as You are compassionate;  and caring, as You care for us.  Bless our relationships that we may serve You here in our home and when we go out into Your world.  In the mighty name of Jesus we pray.  Amen

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Come To The Table

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I have recently been hearing this song on the radio and it strikes a chord deep inside – Remember He came for the sick and sinful – of which I am one. So come join me at His table I look forward to seeing you there.

“Come To The Table”

We all start on the outside
The outside looking in
This is where grace begins
We were hungry, we were thirsty
With nothing left to give
Oh the shape that we were in
Just when all hope seemed lost
Love opened the door for us

He said come to the table
Come join the sinners who have been redeemed
Take your place beside the Savior
Sit down and be set free
Come to the table

Come meet this motley crew of misfits
These liars and these thiefs
There’s no one unwelcome here
So that sin and shame that you brought with you
You can leave it at the door
Let mercy draw you near

Come to the table
Come join the sinners who have been redeemed
Take your place beside the Savior
Sit down and be set free
Come to the table
Come to the table

To the thief and to the doubter
To the hero and the coward
To the prisoner and the soldier
To the young and to the older
All who hunger, all who thirst
All the last and all the first
All the paupers and the princes
All who fail you’ve been forgiven
All who dream and all who suffer
All who loved and lost another
All the chained and all the free
All who follow, all who lead
Anyone who’s been let down
All the lost you have been found
All who have been labeled right or wrong
To everyone who hears this song

Ooh
Come to the table
Come join the sinners you have been redeemed
Take your place beside the Savior
Sit down and be set free
Oooh
Sit down and be set free
Come to the table
Come to the table
Just sit down and rest a while
Just sit down and rest a while
Come to the table

Credit for song to Sidewalk Prophets

Biblical Relationship Advice

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Live at Peace

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“If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.”  Romans 12:18

Michele’s last post highlighted how difficult it is to maintain peace, especially during these turbulent times.  People are angry and unwilling to see any virtue in those with whom they disagree.

My devotional reading a few days ago was taken from Psalm 34:

“Turn away from evil and do good;  seek peace and pursue it.”

Easier said than done, right?  People make us mad.  The folks we deal with every day in our workplace, family, even church can be irritating, insensitive, rude and more. They have political views we don’t understand.  They don’t do things the way we want them done.  They don’t seem to care how their actions and words affect us.  How do we deal with this?

Well, the only person I can really control is me.  If I want to get along with others, I have to make decisions that allow me to do this. I have to pursue peace.  My devotional, and some other readings from Romans and James have a few good suggestions I’d like to share.

  • Try to understand, through prayer, the motivation of others.  I have often found, after praying for someone there are things in their life that cause them to behave the way they do.  It may not make their behavior right, but it does help me accept it without anger.
  • Outdo one another in showing honor.(Romans 12:10)  Sometimes one person’s calm, respectful manner will create a change in the environment.
  • Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. (Romans 12:17)  Seeking revenge causes a bad situation to escalate.
  • Love one another with a brotherly affection (Romans 12:10).  When we love someone we are willing to make allowances for them.
  • Think before you speak (James 1:26)
  • (Most important) Always give others the benefit of the doubt.  How many relationships would be saved if we followed this simple rule?

I wish I could say I always follow my own advice.  Unfortunately like Michele and everyone else, sin is my default position.  I have my own particular buttons that when pushed result in a stubborn, angry, unforgiving response.  However, God doesn’t give me what I deserve.  He gives me grace;  that’s what I should extend to others.

“Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!”  2 Corinthians 9:15

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What About the Women?

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mother-teresaIn all of the rhetoric that comes out of things like the Women’s March and even the March for Life I never hear of anyone speaking about what happens to the women in the life or death situation called abortion.  This is a very personal and very emotional choice that happens to hundreds of women every day.

I wonder if anyone ever thinks about what happens to the women who decide to have an abortion?  Does anyone recognize the pain and the hurt that these women experience?  I don’t think that all these women walk out of the clinics thinking ‘I feel better now that it’s taken care of’.  I think most are crushed, shamed and emotionally devastated.

You see, I was one of those women, back in the ’70s, who walked out of a clinic.  The situation was bad; I was not married and had gotten myself tangled in a sexual situation that I found I couldn’t get out of.  Sexual addiction is a topic for another time, but that’s where I was.  When I got pregnant I went to the baby’s father and he just wanted me to “take care of it”.  Abortion hadn’t even crossed my mind until then.  I had to get the money together and with every ounce of courage I had, I walked into that clinic and had an abortion.  The amount of emotional pain I experienced can’t be explained.

The story doesn’t quite end there.  I couldn’t get out of this sexual situation.  It was an actual addiction; I hated and loved it at the same time.  So later when I thought I was pregnant again I couldn’t handle even thinking about it.  It was one of those stupid things that people do; if I don’t think it’s true, it isn’t true.  When I started bleeding I was relieved.  Then I didn’t stop bleeding.  I finally went to the doctor, who put me in the hospital thinking I was having a miscarriage.  This time my parents needed to be informed  and the shame was compounded.  I overheard the doctor talking to my mother that the baby was “viable” and the bleeding was from a severe infection.  He had decided to go ahead with the “D&C” (abortion) because of the situation.

I was so emotionally devastated that I couldn’t talk about what had happened, not with my parents, my pastor or my friends.  I ended up bottling it up inside me.  I would cry at night when no one was around.  Everyone around me thought I was doing alright but I was a mess inside.

One night while I was crying, I heard an audible voice (only to me, I’m sure) that said “you killed my children!”.  Of course I knew this.  I knew who was speaking to me.  I was raised in the church.  I knew the sixth commandment.  I ended up confessing it all to the Lord and afterwards I felt His love and His peace.  Yes, I’m forgiven and I know this with a peace that I don’t understand.  The emotional pain and grief that I feel now is like a person would feel when a child dies.  I mourn the loss of my children.

What about the women?  In all the talk  I don’t hear anyone address the issue of the women.  The emotional and mental stress of having an abortion is overwhelming.  These women need love and acceptance.   We must be sure that women who have made this choice in their lives get to hear that they can be forgiven.  When we are speaking against abortion, we need to be mindful of those who have walked that road.  These women do not need to be judged by others. The anger and hate that I have seen do nothing but compound the shame and pain that this procedure causes.  I know, because I have felt it.  For this reason I don’t talk about abortion very much.  This isn’t an abstract idea for me.  It’s very personal.

We need to be aware of the emotional and spiritual consequences of abortion.  It’s not just killing a baby.  It kills a bit of the mother as well. We need to hold out our hands to the women who, for whatever reason, have suffered this emotional pain in silence.  We need to reach them and let them know that the Lord loves them, even if they think that He couldn’t.  They need to see that they don’t need to carry the burden of guilt and shame.  Yes, the pain remains.  But for me it’s a reminder of our Lord’s forgiveness.  I carry those children in my heart and I hope to see them in heaven one day.

Be Kind to One Another

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“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”  Ephesians 4:32

Kindness is defined as having a generous, sympathetic, considerate or warm nature.  I think sympathetic is the key word.  When we have sympathy for others we think more about them and less about ourselves.  We try to understand their circumstances;  we ‘walk in their shoes’.

Kindness also seems to be connected to forgiveness, in the verse above and others such as this one:

“Put on then, God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another, and if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you must forgive.  And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.”  Colossians 3:12-14

When we show kindness, we are extending to others the grace God already extended to us. In the book of Titus, the apostle Paul says:

“Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle and show perfect courtesy toward all people.  For we ourselves were once foolish,disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another.  But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us, but according to his own mercy by the washing and regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit …”  Titus 3″1-5

Everybody wants kindness.  None of us deserve it.  Be kind and forgiving to others, as God has been kind to you.

 

 

Thankful for Spiritual Blessings

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“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.” Ephesians 1:3

Our sermon last Sunday was about giving thanks for our spiritual blessings.  When we give thanks, we most often think of how God has provided for our material and emotional needs.  Things like food, shelter, health, family and friends are definitely on our “thank you” list.

But what about spiritual blessings?  Too often we take them for granted, we forget that they are even greater gifts from God.  So take a minute to read the first chapter of Ephesians, giving thanks for each of the spiritual blessings the apostle Paul enumerates.

  1. God chose us before the foundation of the world
  2. God adopted us
  3. God redeemed us through the blood of Christ
  4. God forgives our sins through his grace
  5. God makes His will known to us
  6. God gives us hope
  7. God sends us the Holy Spirit

You might close your thank you devotional time with the doxology, which was written by Thomas Ken, “England’s first hymnist.”

“Praise God from Whom all blessings flow;  Praise Him, all creatures here below;  Praise Him above, ye heavenly host;  Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost.”