WeepingintoDancing

Overcoming Difficult Trials

Archive for the tag “Forgiveness”

Helpless Before God

_Pray Cuz Helpless

Prayer is a gift. Human beings are the only creatures blessed with the ability to communicate with God. As with any relationship, honest communication is necessary for connections to grow and mature. God is all about intimacy. He loves us with a tenderness beyond compare. Yet, many of us neglect the prayer closet. Why?

Sin or rebellion may be our reason. If we think God can’t see our sin or actions we are foolishly trying to deceive ourselves. God knows and sees all things. He came to save the sick and lost. He understands temptations and no sin is beyond His forgiveness and love. Facing God with honesty is difficult, but the only way to recapture a broken relationship.

You have searched me, Lord, and You know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; You perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; You are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue You, Lord, know it completely.Psalm 139:1-4 (NIV)

Fear may also be a reason for our reluctance to pray. Fear of punishment or God’s anger is a cunning trap set by the enemy. The devil loves to shovel shame and guilt our way. But God is love. Love if forgiving, gentle, and kind. But we also serve a just God who honors free will and allows consequences for sinful actions.

“But your iniquities have separated you from your God; And your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear.” Isaiah 59:2 (NKJV)

Sin must be confessed if we want our prayers to be heard. Sin separates us from God. King David sinned greatly yet God still called him, “A man after My own heart.” Adultery and murder are not what we would imagine when considering this mighty declaration.

And when He had removed him, He raised up for them David as king, to whom also He gave testimony and said, ‘I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My own heart, who will do all My will.Acts 13:22 (NKJV)

A reverent fear of God means we understand whom it is that we are speaking to. It shows respect and awe. With a reverent fear we recognize our condition and see that we are helpless, helpless to run our spiritual race without God’s strength and assistance.

So, when we come before God we must don a cloak of humility. Acknowledge Him as the Creator of the universe. Consider His power and might. Be in awe!

Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling”         Philippians 2:12-13 (NKJV)

Humility will bend our knees when we consider our position as the creation. The one true God, the Creator of all things actually wants fellowship with us. So with a reverent fear, one without terror and distress over punishment, we must lay our hearts bare and trust God to toss them as far as the east is from the west.

As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.”        Psalm 103:12 (NKJV)

We live in a world that praises self-reliance and it starts with infancy. Parents rejoice over their child’s first step, their first bike ride without training wheels, dressing and bathing without assistance. Even the fierce, “ME do it!” brings a measure of pride to every parent’s heart. Not needing parental help with certain activities is necessary for human development. But we will always need the help of our spiritual Father. We should strive to lay down our self-will and rely wholly on God. With an attitude of helplessness, God will lift us up and provide for our needs. Depend on God. Spend time with Him in prayer, and concede that you are wholly dependent on Him.

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up.” James 4:10 (NIV)

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.”        1 Peter 5:10 (NIV)

For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.Romans 5:6 (NASB)

God Desires Honesty

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We have the freedom to speak honestly before our King. God already knows what we think, and what we are about to say, so it is foolishness to hide our true feelings from Him. We have permission to be honest, really honest, and need not fear retribution or punishment for our transparency.

Before a word is on my tongue You, LORD, know it completely.” Psalm 139:4 (NIV)

Consider Lazarus, Mary, and Martha. Jesus considered all three to be His friend. And even though He was the King of Kings in living flesh, He welcomed their honest feelings. In one story, Martha complains about Mary sitting at His feet and listening to His word, instead of helping her serve guests. She actually rebuffed Jesus and questioned whether He cared that she had been left alone to serve guests. Furthermore, she ordered Him to tell Mary to help. Jesus acknowledged her feelings but replied that Mary had chosen the good part, which would not be taken away from her.

“Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word. But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, ‘Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.’

 And Jesus answered and said to her, ‘Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:38-42 (NKJV)

 On another occasion, Martha, grief-stricken over her brother’s death, freely spoke of her disappointment with Jesus, for He had not been present before Lazarus passed. She did not know that her Savior intentionally stayed away so that He could perform a miracle. Lazarus was raised from the dead, which led to many conversions.

“’Lord,’ Martha said to Jesus, ‘if You had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that even now God will give You whatever You ask.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Your brother will rise again.’” John 11:21-23 (NIV)

God does not look favorably upon liars. Truth is who God is. He cannot lie. Since we are called to be like Christ, we too must strive to speak truthfully at all times, even in our prayer closet.

In the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of timeTitus 1:2 (NKJV)

“But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the price of the land for yourself? When it remained, was it not your own? And after it was sold, was it not in your own control? Why have you conceived this thing in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God. Then Ananias, hearing these words, fell down and breathed his last.” Acts 5:3-5a (NKJV)

If we hold feelings of hate, disappointment, lust, fear, or bitterness in our heart, it is best to acknowledge it, express it openly with God, and then ask for forgiveness. He can handle our true emotions. He knows our hidden sins and welcomes honest communication. Truth and honesty make for an intimate relationship with God. Pour your heart out to the King. Those who speak truthfully are His delight.

Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who deal truthfully are His delight.Proverbs 12:22 (NKJV)

“An honest heart loves the truth.” ~ A.W. Pink

The Holy Archer And His Arrows

**Arrow

An archer must pull back his arrow to make it fly. Before releasing the shaft, it should touch the bowman’s face. With proper aim, the arrow will hit its mark.

If God is our archer, we then, are His arrows. And even though His quiver if filled beyond our knowing, every shot is carefully planned before it is lovingly released.

When positioned in His mighty bow, we will experience the confusion and pain of backward friction. Yet, we can take heart, for we are in the most skillful of hands. God will send us forward, when His aim is perfected, to hit the proper mark.

Each arrow (beloved child of God) is drawn close to God’s cheek before it is released. What comfort! There is a special moment of communion as He takes aim, before freeing us from the restriction of His mighty bow.

Then the Lord will be seen over them, and His arrow will go forth like lightning. The Lord God will blow the trumpet, and go with whirlwinds from the south.” Zechariah 9:14 (NKJV)

Maybe we will land in some new terrain or ministry. Possibly, the mark we hit needs to hear about Jesus and His incredible blood sacrifice. God may even shoot us into a dark forest filled with principalities and powers of darkness, an arrow intended for spiritual battle.

For they intended evil against You; They devised a plot which they are not able to perform. Therefore, You will make them turn their back; You will make ready Your arrows on Your string toward their faces.Psalm 21:11-12 (NKJV)

If life seems difficult, cumbersome, confusing, even painful… hang on! God may be launching you into something great. Focus on living for Him and stay in the present, but seek His will for your future. Do not let the worries and troubles of each day discourage you. They might be the sharpening agents necessary for God to launch you toward HIS intended target.

He fills His hands with lightning and commands it to strike its mark.Job 36:32 (NIV)

 God cannot miss His mark because He is without sin. What is the biblical definition of sin? Literally, it means to miss the mark. It is a Greek term that comes from an archery term meaning to miss the bulls-eye. Romans 3:23 says that “ For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Therefore, even though God’s aim is always perfect, man is sinful; thus, all of us have missed the mark, not getting our arrow to hit the perfection of God.

And since all of us are missing the mark, all of us require His grace. Missing the mark does not mean we are off the team. No, God knows what we are made of and understands that our heart’s desire is to serve Him, even when we fall short.

 Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.”  Romans 3:25 (NKJV)

Sin affects our relationship with God. To get back on target, we must acknowledge our sins and ask for forgiveness. Sin separates us from God and He turns a deaf ear to our prayers. Repentance will enable the Archer of the Universe to once again interact with His arrow, skillfully shooting him forward so that he hits a bulls-eye.

To find available books by Cheryl Zelenka on Amazon go to: https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_2?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=cheryl+zelenka&rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Acheryl+zelenka

The Peace of Christ

**5

Jesus did not enter this world to bring peace. Rather, He came wielding a very sharp sword. In fact, this weapon is so keen and precise that it pierces between soul and spirit. With supernatural power, it discerns our thoughts and the intent of our heart.

Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword.Matthew 10:34 (NKJV)

For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.Hebrews 4:12 (NKJV)

 Confusion can arise when reading John 14:27, for Jesus speaks of giving us peace. If He did not come to bring peace on earth, why would Christ speak of leaving His peace? There is a clue within the scripture, “He does not give as the world gives.”

Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.John 14:27 (NKJV)

Jesus does offer peace to individuals, but He did not come to earth bringing political peace. His message was radical. Jesus taught us to love our enemies and do good to those who hate us. But the message written in Exodus 21:23-25 directed Jews to act without showing grace. To understand the new message, Jews first had to believe Jesus was the Son of God. They also had to embrace the power in love, the greatest and most powerful gift of all. The blood of Jesus provided forgiveness of all sin and believers were to practice and model forgiveness.

But if any harm follows, then you shall give life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.”

But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” Matthew 5:44-45 (NKJV)

Man often spurs political agendas. Greed, selfish ambition, and power are all motivators. Sin prevents peace in the realm of politics. It is too saturated with self.

But Christ came to us in humility, with a servant’s heart. He brought a peace beyond comprehension, yet obtainable through a sincere faith and a trust in His perfect will. He is the Prince of peace.

For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.Isaiah 9:6 (NKJV)

When man looks to the Father, seeking the Wonderful Counselor for help, there shall be peace. When man reflects on the power of God, He who is Mighty, there shall be peace. When confused thoughts afflict and we lay our burdens at Christ’s feet, there shall be peace. For with a Savior who loves us we have hope, and in that hope we also find peace.

For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints.1 Corinthians 14:23 (NKJV)

The blessing, “The peace of Christ be with you” is perfect for these days of trouble. Christ is our peace. So, when political leaders attempt to force their agendas on the world, we should rest knowing God is in control. The Lord knows about every atrocity and will transform them, some how, into good.

But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.Genesis 50:20 (NKJV)

It is not for us to understand how He acts, or His perfect will. But, it is our responsibility to wait, trust and believe in His character. God is faithful. He is love. He is all-powerful. He is gentle and merciful. Jesus already won the battle, which the devil is trying to overturn. The enemy should read the book of Revelation! The Lord reveals the ending and he ends up in a pit of damnation.

And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever.Revelation 20:10 (NKJV)

 May you find encouragement in these scriptures.

Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.Romans 15:13 (NKJV)

You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.Isaiah 26:3 (NKJV)

 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.Philippians 4:7 (NKJV)

 

Mastering Our Tongue

*7

The book of James warns us about the power behind each man’s tongue. This body part may be small, but it is capable of inflicting great damage if we do not learn to harness it. In fact, man cannot tame his tongue on his own. It requires the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and constant attention to self-control. Even then, there will be moments when a misspoken word causes us to sin. However, there is a reward for bringing our tongue into submission, so strive to train it! For if we master our tongues we also bridle our entire body!

For we all stumble in many things. If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body. Indeed, we put bits in horses’ mouths that they may obey us, and we turn their whole body. Look also at ships: although they are so large and are driven by fierce winds, they are turned by a very small rudder wherever the pilot desires.James 3:2-4 (NKJV)

Just as a bridle is used to master a horse’s direction, a rudder is used to steer a ship. Winds may blow a sailing vessel off course, but a small rudder can get it back on track and direct it to its intended port. Likewise, our tongue needs to be bridled by the grace of God so that He, our pilot, can then direct us along our earthly path.

Sadly, blessings AND curses do proceed from our mouths. Opposites birthed within our hearts, which then flow up and out of our lips. Again, James reminds us that a spring of water is not both sweet and bitter. It is filled with one or the other. This analogy reminds us to be careful with our words, keeping them sweet and full of God’s life-giving grace and love.

“With it we bless our God and Father, and with it, we curse men who have been made in the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so.  Does a spring send forth freshwater and bitter from the same opening?” James 3:9-11 (NKJV)

In 1831, Professor Touery drank a lethal dose of strychnine in front of his distinguished colleagues at the French Academy of Medicine. Fortunately, he had combined the deadly poison with activated charcoal and lived to tell the tale.

Here is our hope! Sinful words may live within our hearts and spew recklessly from our lips, but the poison found within such words can be neutralized. This means that if we apply an opposite force, the damage should become ineffective (although it might take a good measure of time to see results). But this requires the indwelling of the Holy Spirit within both the offender and the wounded target.

What is the neutralizing agent? God’s love! Hateful words are powerful and damaging. But God’s love can restore relationships and bring them back to health.

Poisons also have antidotes! It is a medicine taken or given to counteract a particular poison. Antidotes either prevent the poison from working or reverse the effects. The love of Christ is a powerful antidote. It counteracts the poison spewed through gossip and slander. With it, we are given new vision. It enables us to view situations and people through eyes of love. By it, forgiveness is possible because the antidote brings to mind all the sins Christ has forgiven in us.

Ultimately, our goal should be to eliminate any poison resting our tongues before it has a chance to do any damage. This is possible, but we must,“Take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:5b (NKJV) Reading the Word of God will help with this goal. While feeding upon the Word of God and consider, “Whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.” Philippians 4:8 (NKJV). Fill your soul with sweet reflections so that there is no room left in your heart for any bitter or hateful thoughts.

 *Read the following scriptures and ask yourself if you are harboring any feelings of unforgiveness or bitterness in your heart? Are the words of your lips overflowing with sweet spring water, bitter water, or both?

Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.Colossians 4:6 (NKJV)

Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.Ephesians 4:29 (NKJV)

Whoever guards his mouth and tongue keeps his soul from troubles.Proverbs 21:23 (NKJV)

“But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.” James 3:8 (NKJV)

Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” Proverbs 18:21 (NKJV)

“When there are many words, transgression is unavoidable, but he who restrains his lips is wise. Proverbs 10:19 (NASB)

A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.Proverbs 25:11 (NKJV)

The Promise of Forgiveness

*Jesus Forgives

1 John 1:9 is a PROMISE. We will find forgiveness in Christ if we confess our sins and repent of our ways. This is a blessed assurance. God will never say, “No, I will not accept your confession of sin and heart felt apology. I do not forgive you. I do not want a relationship with you.”

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”   1 John 1:9 (NKJV)

Some of you may know the heartache of unforgiveness. After humbling yourself and apologizing for a wrong, hoping to restore a broken relationship or bring healing to someone, you were rebuffed or ignored. Your cry to be forgiven was not met with love or a consoling pardon. The pain of unforgiveness is heart wrenching. All one can do is act on what the scriptures instruct and pray, leaving the rest to God.

Thankfully, we will never suffer this rejection with God. He accepts our plea for forgiveness and casts the memory of our sin as far as the east is from the west. We have been washed in the blood and sacrifice of the Lamb. Our Creator longs for an intimate relationship with us and since all sin separates us from His presence, He forgives us repeatedly.

We cannot however change people, or their reaction to our sin. We can only work on changing ourselves…. with God’s grace. Because God loves us, He works to perfect and refine our spirits until they eventually reflect back the very image of Christ. This act of sanctification requires man to lay aside pride and self-will. Everyone comes to the place of absolute surrender at a different time in life. Through the revelation of the Holy Spirit, we eventually come to understand the necessity for making greater room in our hearts for God.

He must become greater; I must become less.” John 3:30 (NIV)

A conflict between two people means that there are TWO individuals who need to work together on the resolution. One may want change and restoration but the other might not. We can influence people in a positive way by walking in the light, but God alone refines and transforms the heart. If one person is not willing or ready to consider forgiveness, reconciliation is put on hold.

There is always the hope of a restored relationship but sin, even confessed sin, will change an association in some way. We are not like God who is able to forget wrongs and cast them beyond His memory. Broken trust takes time to heal. It takes work and patience, understanding and tolerance. Wounds heal but some scars remain. Maybe the scar will serve as a testimony of God’s healing power, a witness to others who are living in broken relationships.

A restored relationship gives glory to God. It can become even better after suffering through affliction, betrayal, and sin. Love is the healing balm that makes this possible. Love is the greatest gift of all and can cover a multitude of sins, if we are willing to lay down our own pain and offer the wrongdoer (It usually takes two individuals to make a wrong and therefore two are necessary to make it right again) absolution.

Hold on to the promise that ALL of your sins are forgiven when you repent to God, even the unforgiven sins held against you by someone with a hard heart. You are cleansed from all unrighteousness the minute you confess to God. He pardons all unrighteousness and grants absolution. Guilt does not come from God, just Holy Spirit conviction that leads to humble repentance. You have been forgiven. You are forgiven. By the blood of Jesus Christ you are freely forgiven.

“I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake;And I will not remember your sins.” Isaiah 43:25 (NKJV)

 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32 (NKJV)

He does not treat us as our sins deserveor repay us according to our iniquities.

For as high as the heavens are above the earth,so great is His love for those who fear Him; As far as the east is from the west,so far has He removed our transgressions from us.” Psalm 103:10-12 (NIV)

“To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable, because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.” ~ C.S. Lewis                                 

This devotion is from my book FACING ADVERSITY: THOUGHTS OF WISDOM, PRAISE, AND PROMISE. You will find it on Amazon the first week of December. http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=Cheryl%20Zelenka&sprefix=Chery%2Caps

God Will Soften A Hard Heart

This is a devotion from my next book, FACING STORMS: DEVOTIONS FOR THOUGHT AND MEDITATION. Be sure to check out my other books on Amazon!                           

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=cheryl%20zelenka&sprefix=chery%2Caps&rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Acheryl%20zelenka

*Hard Heart

“You will begin to heal yourself when you let go of the things that hurt you in the past, forgive those who have done wrong to you and learn to forgive yourself for the mistakes you have made.” – Anonymous

“But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; 
the punishment that brought us peace was on Him, and by His wounds we are healed.” Isaiah 53:5 (NIV)

Jesus suffered many physical injuries on His road to Calvary. The beatings, whipping, and crucifixion left him barely recognizable, even to His family and friends. Because of His great love for us, He took up the cross. It is by His wounds that we are healed. It is through His blood sacrifice that our sins have been forgiven.

Jesus took the sins of the world and pinned them to the cross. Through this act of love, and through His resurrection, we no longer need to fear death. Eternal life has been granted to everyone who repents and acknowledges Jesus as his or her Lord in Savior! In addition to this glorious gift, we have a constant hope through the assurance of grace. With our sincere confession of sin, forgiveness is always granted.

Why, when we have such a forgiving Savior as our role model, do we wrestle with the issue of forgiveness….. Both in giving it and receiving it? Did not our Lord love us first, even while we were blemished by sin and active in worldly pursuits? Should we not be grateful that He looks past the sin we still struggle with and recognizes the being we have yet to become?

John 15:13 says, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” Oh my, what a friend we have in Jesus! Contemplate His sacrifice! He left His heavenly realm to live as flesh and blood, then willingly died to set us, The Captives (to sin and death) free.

Mercifully, God has equipped you and I to overcome every adversity in life. Through faith and the gift of prayer, we may call upon His supernatural strength any time we feel weak, overwhelmed, or discouraged. He is always willing to help, advise, protect, encourage…. And forgive! He wants to commune and fellowship with us. Since sin separates us from His presence, He is constantly pardoning His children.

Rebellion and personal sin will intensify personal sufferings, so your obedience and submission is factored in to how well you weather a storm. Sin, disobedience, and rebellion always complicates life. Even so, what REALLY matters is the following point. If you acknowledge and confess your sins, you will ALWAYS receive forgiveness. Jesus never ignores a sincerely repentant heart.

So once again I ask, why do we withhold forgiveness when others ask it of us? Is it possibly due to a cold and hardened heart? If so, how is a hardened heart mended?

A hardened heart is surely a sign of an unhealthy spiritual state. With all probability, it belongs to a hungry and thirsty soul who has neglected the Word of God and the Springs of Living Waters. It has become parched and weak for a lack of supernatural spiritual food and water.

A hardened heart needs to hear the loving and healing promises within the Word of God. However, the difficulty comes in getting the loved one to listen. In all probability, they have not been open to the wise counsel of others and has stopped communicating with God, even ignoring prompts from the Holy Spirit. The truths within the Word can supernaturally break through all self-protection, pain, and anger. It will eventually untangle the lies Satan crafted and therefore crack the marble heart of stone. Look for opportunities to share even the shortest of scriptures with this person.

Another important part to healing a hard heart is fellowship. All of us have sinned. When somebody is not walking in close communion with the Lord, they usually avoid any interaction with others who are. They tend to become anti-social and isolated. This solitude gives the Devil a foothold and even more opportunity to tempt, deceive, and lie.

It requires a humble heart, softened by the prayers of others, to acknowledge a detour from the path of God. Pride is a sin we are all guilty of and it will lead to spiritual stagnation, decay or even death. However, once a hardened soul decides to enter back into fellowship with the Body of Christ, and honestly faces what has hardened their heart, peace and joy will once again return to their life. Unforgiveness is a ball and chain. It is tightly fastened around the leg of those who refuse to forgive.

Forgiving yourself of past sins is also required if you want a softer and more pliable heart. When you refuse to forgive yourself (and others) you dishonor Christ and all He did for you on the cross, and through His resurrection.

When you confess sin, it is cast as far as the east is from the west and is forgotten. Please, dear reader, stop reminding your Father of things He has already forgiven and forgotten. He was beaten and bruised so that you would not have to suffer an eternity absent from His glorious presence. He wants you to rest in this truth: By His wounds you are healed.

Will you not extend forgiveness and provide healing for the one wounded by your unwillingness to forgive and forget?

“But He was wounded for our transgressions,He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.” Isaiah 53:5 (NKJV)

“As far as the east is from the west, 
so far has He removed our transgressions from us.” Psalm 103:12 (NIV)

“ Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”   John 15:13 (NIV)

“It is better to heed the rebuke of a wise person than to listen to the song of fools.” Ecclesiastes 7:5 (NIV)

“God pardons like a mother, who kisses the offense into everlasting forgiveness.” ~ Henry W. Beecher

Forgive and then…. Let God Work

UTR Forgive Us As We Forgive Others

Dear Reaader,

I did not write this post but I wanted to share it with you. The source is at the bottom of this devotion. Over the years, I have been wounded by friends and family who would not offer forgiveness for my sins against them, or acknowledge their own sins against me. I rest in knowing God has forgiven me and that we all fall short of the glory of God. I am a work in progress. Sactification does not happen in a day. It takes a life time. I am a sinner but a child of God who is well loved by her heavenly Father. May we all learn from our mistakes and do what we can to live in peace with each other. Sometimes, we must trust God to “fix” a matter…. in His perfect time.

“For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” Matthew 6:14-15 (NKJV)

There are people who insist on holding on to resentment, often inventing situations in their minds that never happened, justifying their bad behavior, and putting the blame on others. They see themselves as the abused party, always quick to take offense. Rarely are they able to have healthy relationships, for they are in reality, the abusers. Their world centers around them, and any attempt by others to appease them, only contributes to the anti-social behavior.

Such behavior betrays a deep spiritual and psychological illness, one that is not easily healed. Such people feel empowered by making other people uncomfortable, and normal attempts at rapprochement often end in failure, for such people are always looking for ways to continue their control over others. Their illness is difficult to heal, for their pride and deep seated sense of superiority makes repentance difficult, for they simply don’t see themselves as having a problem.

One of the Desert Fathers tells us of a young monk who came to his elder, complaining that he’d been wronged by one of his brothers, and following the holy tradition of the desert, had gone to the one who had wronged him, asking for forgiveness. The erring brother refused, so the wronged brother wanted to know what he should do in response. The elder told the young monk that he had walked away justified in the eyes of God, and that there was nothing left for him to do, except to pray for his erring brother.

This true story from the Desert Fathers makes clear that we must always be quick to forgive others, even if they were at fault, not remembering the wrong done to us, nor depend on the other cooperating in the reconciliation. Their repentance is not required, for we will be held accountable only for our own response. Before God, we will be justified.

When another person refuses to accept our heartfelt apology, we must be willing to let it be, and walk away, knowing that we’ve done our part. Abusive people such as these, can, if we let them, prevent us from living our own life in Christ, for they keep our focus away from the forgiveness that comes from Christ. When we walk away from such negative people, we walk away having forgiven them, and we commit ourselves to praying for their repentance. There is nothing more we can do.

Keeping our focus on Christ, we do not react, do not resent, and do not lose our inner peace. The sickness that is at the basis of controlling, abusive people, must not be allowed to take away from the inner joy and peace that comes from our personal relationship with Christ.

For your own soul’s sake, and for the soul of the abuser, continue to pray for them, but go your own way, “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:7).”

http://tokandylaki.blogspot.com/2014/03/when-people-dont-forgive.html?m=1

Let Go Of All Bitterness & Unforgiveness

Prayer:Let Go Bitterness

Kindness & Truth

Kindness & Truth PM 213 DPI

“I believe that in the end the truth will conquer.”   ~ John Wycliffe                                                                                                http://www.whatchristianswanttoknow.com/bible-verses-about-truth-20-great-scripture-quotes/#ixzz2tkrNszvJ

“Let not kindness and truth forsake thee: Bind them about thy neck; Write them upon the tablet of thy heart”Proverbs 3:3 (ASV)

Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who deal truthfully are His delight.” Proverbs 12:22 (NKJV)

 Therefore, putting away lying, ‘Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor,’ for we are members of one another.” Ephesians 4:25 (NKJV)

KINDNESS and TRUTH should always hold hands. Together they are powerful and fully capable of spreading insight and revelation, conviction and true repentance. However, one without the other is never beneficial or profitable.

When truth is spoken with callousness, or merely in a hurried fashion, discourse will surely follow. By forgetting to speak honest words, with the love of God backing them up, our candor will put folks off. This hinders the effectiveness they could have and the ability for someone to receive them.

Ephesians 4:25 instructs us to put way lying and speak truth to our neighbors. This applies to our friends and family as well. Although sincerity is not always easy, the Lord requires it of His children. He does not lie, therefore He expects us to make a concerted effort to follow in His footsteps.

Truth is supposed to establish trust and/or restore and build up relationships. Truthful words are hard to share but they are even harder to hear and receive. A spirit of humility and sincere love, when speaking words of truth, should always be a prerequisite if God is leading you to confront someone. We are all sinners and it is imperative to remember this fact. We all sin and fall short of the glory of God. We all have seasons when we are trapped and ensnared by the entanglements of sin.

A reputation of honesty is certainly worth its weight in gold. Just be sure kindness and the love of Christ is present when realities are shared or addressed. Certainly we are to “Do to others as we would have them do to us.“ (Luke 6:31 NIV)

If you find a friendship has been destroyed by truths, first look to yourself (and not the other) when finding fault. Maybe your tone lacked compassion and your emotions got in the way. Sin should be confronted with truth but be sure God is leading you to acknowledge it and wait for His leading to speak. He knows when the time is right for the arrow of truth to pierce the soul, and hit its mark.

Godly truth will cut down the lies of the enemy and it should bring about true conviction and sorrow, spiritual growth and joy. But then again, some hearts are so hardened and deceived it may take many arrows to finally pierce their spirit and bring about true repentance. This is where prayer and intercession must step in, never loosing hope in the ability of God to lead a sinner to the mercy seat of God.

“These six things the Lord hates, Yes, seven are an abomination to Him:             A proud look, A lying tongue, Hands that shed innocent blood, A heart that devises wicked plans, Feet that are swift in running to evil, A false witness who speaks lies, And one who sows discord  among brethren.”  Proverbs 6:16-19 (NKJV)

“Sanctify them by Your truth. Your Word is truth.” John 17:17 (NKJV)

“However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.” John 16:13 (NKJV)

“These are the things you shall do: Speak each man the truth to his neighbor;
Give judgment in your gates for truth, justice, and peace” Zechariah 8:16 (NKJV)

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